According to an interview of a BMW spokesperson by Autocar, production of the groundbreaking i3 will cease after nearly nine years in July. The development comes roughly a year after production of U.S. i3 models ended, and is attributed to BMW’s expanding lineup of EVs. As per the spokesperson, the BMW Group will have six EVs on the market by the end of 2022, and a total of thirteen by 2023. Some of these include the upcoming i7, which is an electrified version of the 7 Series, a 5 Series-based EV, and what’s currently being referred to as the iX1, along with an electrified third-generation Mini Countryman.
After the BMW i3 concept was first shown in 2011, series production commenced in September of 2013. In the time since, more than 200,000 of the i3 have been produced, and total production is expected to come in around 250,000 units, more than 40,000 of which ended up in the U.S. In the years since its arrival, the i3 has become progressively more capable, with range expanding from approximately 80 miles from a 60-amp-hour battery pack to more than 150 miles thanks to a 120-amp-hour array. As recently as 2020, BMW increased production of the i3 to meet demand, and back in 2019, it was reported that BMW was considering producing the model until 2024.
Although the BMW i4, iX, and Mini SE have been introduced to take the place of the i3, there is no direct successor to the once cutting-edge model, which rides atop a carbon-fiber platform. Current and future BMW EVs like the i4 and iX are based on BMW’s modular platforms which underpin the brand’s conventional models like the 3 Series and X5. BMW announced a shift away from the carbon-fiber platforms used for the i3 and i8 back in 2018, and now, every BMW and Mini model uses either the front-wheel-drive UKL platform, or the rear-wheel-drive CLAR design, both of which are modular and highly adaptable.
The i3 is manufactured at BMW Group Plant Leipzig, which will be retooled to produce the third-generation Mini Countryman. Leipzig is where the i8 was made from 2014 until 2020, has built more than 3,000,000 vehicles since 2005, and now also produces batteries.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]