BMW i3 retired earlier than expected

After nine years of career and nearly 250,000 copies sold, the first electric BMW is about to disappear. It gives way to the electric Mini and future BMW iX1.

Launched in 2013, the BMW i3 was a precursor to the still-nascent electric market at the time. With its UFO style and antagonistic doors, it triggers two reactions: either we love it or we hate it. This first 100% electric model of the brand was to remain in the catalog for a few more years, at least until 2024, but it is finally from this year that the ax will fall. The last copies of the i3 will roll off the production lines at the Leipzig factory in July 2022.

The end of the i3’s career is not necessarily due to its lack of success, since BMW estimates that 250,000 copies will be sold between 2013 and July 2022. The model is still selling well in Europe with more than 23,000 units delivered on the Old Continent in 2020. It’s not because of its great age either. Its original style is still very current, and it still has this image of a modern and technological vehicle. The i3 hides its wrinkles well and has a technical sheet that is still up to date: the 42.2 kWh battery (since 2018) offers 330 km of autonomy on the WLTP cycle.

Too much internal competition?

The official reason for this reversal is rather to be found on the side of production costs and internal competition. With a lighter body thanks to an aluminum chassis and a carbon fiber reinforced plastic cell, the i3 is rather expensive to produce. And since the arrival of the electric Mini, sales seem to be moving towards the British city car, despite fewer practical aspects. The Mini Cooper SE is one of the brand’s best sellers. The upcoming arrival of the new generation of electric Mini and the BMW iX1, an electric SUV derived from the thermal X1, would therefore have finished completing the i3.

On top of that, BMW finds itself in a predicament with the i3 name. As we announced last December, pictures of the future electric sedan based on the 3 Series have leaked in China. The logical name would therefore be i3, just like the i4 which derives from the 4 Series or the iX3 which is based on the X3. But problem: the i3 was still there. The only solutions: make it change its name or make it disappear… It seems that BMW has made its choice.

Photo : BMW.

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