After nearly a decade, it's time to pour one out for the BMW i3.
Despite the BMW i3 being almost a decade old, it still looks like a car that has time traveled from the future. But even though it still looks relatively fresh, the Bavarians are deciding to cease production in the coming months. The i3 celebrates a nine-year life-cycle with almost 250,000 units sold globally but despite this success, the product simply does not form part of its future vision of electrification.
Speaking to Autocar, an unnamed BMW spokesperson confirmed that the last i3 model will be put together at the Leipzig production facility this July. This decision has been made to accommodate the arrival of the third-generation Mini Countryman which will be assembled at the same location.
The BMW i3 departed from the US market last year due to dwindling sales with the understanding that the range would come to an end globally by sometime this year. Once departed, there will be a gap in this segment for the brand but this will be temporary as the arrival of the fully electric next-generation Mini hatchback is imminent.
Despite the drop in demand towards the end of its life here in the USA, its global performance has been commendable. After the model was updated in 2019, the company noted that its global sales had increased by 30 percent. This led to BMW celebrating its 200,000th production model just one year later which prompted the company to more than double the car's production output from 116 to 250 units a day.
Be that as it may, the i3's demise was imminent as it is now pitted against more compelling offerings such as the Chevrolet Bolt which offers better performance, range, and packaging at a more competitive price. The aforementioned update in 2019 afforded the model with a larger 42.2 kWh capacity which increased its range from 115 to 153 miles while maintaining the 170 horsepower output. This update also introduced a performance-inspired i3s with 181 hp.
BMW has previously acknowledged that the i3 did not meet the expectations of its customers when it was launched. The blame was put on the fact that it boasted a peculiar design and that the drivetrain was developed with urban mobility in mind, despite some i3 owners managing substantial road trips and mileage. Thankfully BMW seems to have resolved these concerns with its existing range of EVs. This includes the i4 and iX, as well as the forthcoming iX1 and iX3 SUVs in international markets.