BMW 330e PHEV Returns To U.S. With Bigger Battery, More Range

Electric range is up from only 14 miles to an estimated 22.

BMW announced today the return of the 330e and 330e xDrive for the North American market. This is the 2nd generation 330e, and has been available in European markets since the summer of 2019. BMW sold the 330e in the US from 2016 until they discontinued it in 2019. However, the Plug-in version of BMW’s most popular car is back, and better than before. 

Recently, our own Andrei Nedelea had the opportunity to spend a weekend with a new 300e and came away with this resounding endorsement: It’s probably the best PHEV available right now. You definitely want to check out his article to find out why he feels that way. 

Looking at the specifications of the European and North American models, I found something very curious. In both markets the specs say the battery’s total capacity is 12 kWh, that’s up from the tiny 7.6 kWh battery in the first-generation 330e.

However, for European markets, BMW lists the usable battery capacity as 10.4 kWh, but for the US it’s listed as only 9.09 kWh. That means the European owners will get about 15% more of the battery to use than their American counterparts will. 

We’re not sure exactly why that is, but we’re guessing it may have something to do with possible future warranty claims. By building in a larger battery buffer for the US market, BMW can gradually release more battery when the capacity naturally degrades, and customers will still experience nearly the same range as they did when the vehicle was new.

However, this is just our theory, but it’s not based on pure speculation either. BMW did just that with the early model years of the i3. The original usable capacity on the i3 was 18.8 kWh, but as time went on, BMW opened up an extra 1 to 1.5 kWh to help the older cars retain more of their originally-promised range. 

BMW estimates the 2021 330e with have an EPA range rating of 22 miles per charge and that’s up more than 50% from the 14 miles of range the earlier version provided. The 330e xDrive will offer slightly less all-electric range, with an estimated 20 miles of EPA-rated range.


Gallery: 2021 BMW 330e

17 Photos

2021 BMW 330e specs:

  • 12 kWh battery (1st gen 330e had a 7.6 kWh battery)
  • EPA estimated range of 22 miles: More than twice the range of the 1st gen 
  • Total combined power: 288 hp / 310 lb-ft torque
  • 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo engine with eight-speed Steptronic transmission
  • 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds (5.7 seconds for 330e xDrive)
  • Top speed of 142 mph (140 for 330e xDrive)
  • MSRP of $44,550 for 330e and $46,550 for 330e xDrive sedan (plus $995 Dest.)

From the BMW press release:

In the HYBRID driving mode, the new BMW 330e and 330e xDrive Sedans can operate at speeds up to 68 mph on electric power alone, an increase of 19 mph over its predecessor. Emissions-free and fuel-free ELECTRIC mode allows driving up to 87 mph, up from the previous 75 mph. The standard Active Protection for Pedestrians features an exterior speaker system to generate an unmistakable sound created specifically for electrified BMWs when operating in electric-only mode at speeds up to 20 mph.


The 330e comes with a long list of standard features:

  • 18-inch V-Spoke bi-color grey wheels with all-season run-flat 225/45R18 tires.
  • Sport eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Sport leather multi-function steering wheel
  • Power front Sport seats
  • 40/20/40 split rear seat
  • Fine Wood trim with Ash Grey-Brown high gloss finishers.
  • Moonroof
  • Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors
  • Automatic Climate control
  • Dynamic Cruise control (reduces speed in corners and can apply brakes downhill)
  • Rear view camera
  • Navigation
  • Live Cockpit Professional with
  • Hands-free Bluetooth and USB audio connection
  • Alarm System
  • SiriusXM Satellite radio with 1 year All Access Subscription
  • Apple CarPlay Compatibility
  • ConnectedDrive Services
  • Acoustic Protection for Pedestrians
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Active Protection – Automatic front seat belt tensioning, Automatic closing of windows and moonroof, Fatigue and Focus alert, Post-crash braking.
  • Active Guard – Pedestrian warning with braking, Frontal Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation with braking, Speed Limit information.

The first generation 330e didn’t sell so well in the US, perhaps the very low all-electric range made it hard for prospective owners to see the value in plugging in. However, with a larger battery, it will offer 22 miles of range. Plus it will now qualify for a federal tax credit of $5,836. That’s up $1,835 from what the previous 330e qualified for. The tax credit actually makes the 330e net out as less expensive than the BMW 330i. Additionally, many states offer their own incentives to make purchasing a plug-in vehicle even more attractive. 

Will the additional range and increased tax incentives help make the 2021 330e more successful in the North American market? We’ll soon find out because it launches here in less than two months. For first-hand driving impressions, make sure to check out our previous article where we had the opportunity to drive a 330e for a couple of days. 

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