The BMW i4 is one of three new full-electric vehicles released by BMW in 2021. Classed in Australia as a medium size passenger car, it is marketed as a five door coupe and features a large liftback style rear boot opening and seating for five people. Like all electric BMWs, the model name begins with a lowercase ‘i’ to differentiate it from fossil fuelled BMWs.
Built in Germany, the i4 shares a platform used to build ICE (internal combustion engine) hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The i4 is available in rear-wheel drive (eDrive 40) or all-wheel drive (M50) versions. Its direct competitors in Australia include the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3.
The i4 offers up to 11kW AC charging and 200kW maximum DC fast-charge rate. At this DC rate it can recharge 100km of range in just under 6 minutes.
BMW i4 Variants
|Variant||Battery (kWh)||WLTP Range (km)||Real World Range (km)||Power Output (kW)||Torque (Nm)||Plug Types (AC/DC)||Max Charge Rate (AC/DC)||Price|
|2WD (eDrive 40)||84||590||526||250||430||Type 2/ CCS2||11/200||$99,900|
|AWD (M50)||84||510||455||400||795||Type 2/ CCS2||11/200||$124,900|
Australian test standards are currently in a state of flux with the Green Vehicle Guide2 (GVG) showing some vehicle driving ranges using either the old (and highly over optimistic) European NEDC test cycle figure or the newer European WLTP test cycle figure. Worse still, for recent additions to the Australian market the GVG often gives no data at all! Around town the WLTP figure is the best guide for range. If you’re doing outer suburban or regional driving use the US EPA figure.
Using the US EPA range an i4 2WD should be capable of doing a return trip from the Melbourne GPO to St Arnaud in Victoria’s north-west, provided the heating or air conditioning aren’t heavily used. For this sort of trip it’s recommended to do a top-up DC fast-charge at one of the DC charger sites along the Calder Highway, or take a slight detour to an AC charger and a more relaxed one to two hour break at Malden or Bendigo. (Further charging options can be found on PlugShare).
The i4 is fitted with a CCS2 socket allowing it to charge via Type 2 AC chargers2 as well as CCS2 DC fast-chargers.
The i4 can be charged at any AC EVSE, however an adaptor is needed to use the (few) remaining older EVSEs fitted with Type 1 (J1772) plugs.
Like all new EVs sold in Australia the BMW i4 is fitted with a type 2 AC socket.
Single phase: maximum of 7.4kW (32A)
Three phase: 11kW (16A per phase)
Charging speeds and times vary on the capacity of the EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) it is connected to and the chosen battery size. Approximate charging times for the i4 are shown in table 2 below.
DC fast charging
Like all new BEVs sold in Australia (except the Nissan Leaf), the i4 uses the CCS2 DC fast-charge connector and can charge at up to 200kW.
BMW i4 Time to Charge (hrs)
|Battery size (kWh)||15A 1 phase (3.6kW)||32A 1 phase (7.2kW)||16A 3 phase (11kW)||DC Fast Charge (50kW)||DC Fast Charge (350kW)|
To get the shortest home charging time for a BMW i4 an 11kW three phase AC EVSE is needed.
However, depending on your existing power supply and/or charging needs, only a lower rated EVSE may be practicable, or needed. Lower capacity EVSEs increase charging times.
The i4 also comes with a Mode 2 portable EVSE for plugging into a 10A power point. Charging with this takes around 46hrs for a 0 – 100% charge. This extended time is due to BMW supplying a maximum 1.8kW portable charger.
Important notes for any home EVSE installation:
1. High charging rates are generally not needed for overnight charging.
2. Homes do not normally have three phase AC connected.
3. Switchboard and/or electrical supply upgrades may be needed if your home is more than 20 years old.
BMW i4 Specifications
|Cargo space (litres)||Cargo Space with rear seats folded (litres)||Length (mm)||Width (mm)||Width with mirrors (mm)||Height (mm)||Tow Rating (braked / unbraked)|