It’s the end of the line for the BMW i3. The company has announced that production will stop in the US market by the end of July 2021. Originally, production of this model was expected to continue through around 2024. However, thanks to changing priorities, BMW has decided to pull the plug this year. Here’s a look back at the history of the i3 and what you can expect from the company’s electric vehicle prospects going forward.
Early Entry Into the EV Market
BMW’s i3 has been in production since 2013 when it gave the company an early entry into the electric vehicle market. This electric hybrid four-door hatchback featured an unusual shape and a distinctive interior that people tended to either love or hate.
One of the most important distinctions was the vehicle’s shell, which was made entirely of carbon fiber – a material that is both lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel. Buyers were attracted to the practicality of this small, four-seat vehicle combined with the premium features BMW is known for.
When it was launched, the i3 made it to the top of the sales charts and became the most-sold premium electric vehicle worldwide.
2017 i3s Launch
After several years of immense success, BMW launched a new version of the i3, called the i3s. Given that BMW has a reputation for creating sporty driving machines, this update wasn’t completely surprising. This sportier version of the already-nimble i3 featured a few design changes and two new colors.
Some of the most popular new features were the exclusive 20-inch wheels, a sport suspension that lowered the vehicle’s ground clearance, a wider track, and full LED headlights. The interior also featured premium materials including unpainted eucalyptus wood, and wood-based natural fiber upholstery.
This vehicle became even more popular than its predecessor, thanks to the power boost and the Adjusted Dynamic Traction Control mode, which made it more agile at higher speeds and significantly improved cornering ability.
The Decision to Halt Production
Considering how long the i3 has been in production, it’s truly not that much of a shock that it has been discontinued. Much has changed in the electric vehicle world since 2013. So, despite its decidedly modern look and innovative carbon fiber frame, this model was likely nearing the end of its shelf life anyway.
Surprisingly, global demand for the i3 surged in the last quarter of 2020 thanks to the growing popularity of electric vehicles in northern Europe and other regions. However, 2021 U.S. sales have been lackluster.
Fans of premium electric vehicles will be glad to know that BMW isn’t getting out of the game entirely. Instead, the company is shifting its attention to new EVs. The i4 eDrive40, iX xDrive50, and i4 M50 are all scheduled for availability in March of 2022.
Perhaps the most exciting of the three is the M50. This vehicle promises to be packed with power and performance. It will feature precise handling and incredible traction control and directional stability. Drivers will also enjoy instantaneous power delivery and superb stopping power. The M50 will provide the perfect balance between a comfortable riding experience and sporty control – all with zero emissions.
It’s expected that the M50 will start at about $65,900, which is a bit less than the gas-powered M3. This vehicle will feature 535 horsepower, 586 pound-feet of torque, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds.
While the M50 is all about performance, those concerned with practicality will want to take a closer look at the other two models. The i4 eDrive40 and iX xDrive50 will both feature a range of up to 300 miles. The discontinued i3s had a range of only about 205 miles and the M50 will have a range of about 240 miles.
The eDrive40 will start at around $55,400 and is expected to be the linchpin that holds BMWs place in the electric vehicle world. This model has 335 horsepower and can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 5.7 seconds. The xDrive 50 will start in the $85,000 range and will offer 500 horsepower.
Do You Own an i3? Don’t Worry!
While BMW is no longer producing the i3 model, there are plenty currently out on the road. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you’ll be glad to know that the experts at The Haus will continue offering service, repairs, and maintenance on all i3 vehicles. We’ll also have continued access to all necessary parts.
We’re a full-service independent BMW repair company with over 25 years of combined experience. When your i3 needs service, you can count on us to get it right and get you back on the road right away. For your convenience, have locations in both Sherman Oaks or Santa Monica. Contact us today to schedule a VIP appointment.