According to a recent report from BMWBlog, the U.S. market version of the i3 is in its final production stages, and will be dropped from the model lineup next month in July. The report details U.S. i3 inventory as having been lower over the past year than at any point since the model’s market introduction, and that customers were experiencing difficulty when trying to secure a production slot. As per the development, which cited North American dealership data, roughly 180 i3 production slots remained at the time of its publication.
Although BMW previously signaled that it would keep the i3 in production until 2024, over a decade after it was revealed in 2013, the possibility was largely interpreted as a stop-gap measure of sorts, to bridge the gap between BMW’s first-generation EV models and the upcoming i4 and iX. When the BMW i3 and i8 arrived in 2013 and 2014, they were accompanied by a ground-breaking carbon-fiber architecture which is unlikely to be seen anywhere outside the realm of supercars and hyper cars in the future. Production of the i8 ended almost exactly a year ago, and BMWBlog indicates that the i3 is likely to reach its conclusion in 2022, after sales in other markets cease, which would still result in one of the longest-running models BMW has manufactured.
Although the story of the i3 had something of a difficult beginning back in 2013, BMW celebrated the production of 200,000 units last October, and over the years, the model attracted a cult following of dedicated devotees. The BMW i3 has also accumulated a number of awards during its life for things as varied as its contentious and polarizing exterior design and use of recycled materials, to its electric drivetrain. Despite being diametrically opposed to the autobahn thoroughbreds BMW also builds, the i3 proved an exceptional solution to urban mobility, and continues to pay dividends in the form of other models which have followed up on its success, like the Mini SE.
The i3 also continues to pay dividends in terms of its unique construction. It remains unlikely that BMW will produce any kind of follow up to the carbon-fiber i3 and i8 in the immediate future, especially after the shelving of the exciting Vision M Next, but the long term development and production experience BMW has gained with the electrified drivetrains of both models is said to have directly influenced the design and composition of the i4, iX, and the the fifth-generation eDrive motors they rely on. The same goes for batteries, charging, and all of the peripherals, which BMW continues to advance the development of, both in terms of efficiency and sustainability.
The BMW i4 and iX are slated to go on sale during the first quarter of 2022.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]