The writing was on the wall: the late bloomer BMW i3 will soon stop its production for the U.S. market. According to a BMW dealer bulletin, the final production for the electric i3 hatchback is scheduled for July 2021. Over the last 12 months, the i3 inventory for the U.S. was at its lowest point and customers often had difficulties securing a production slot. The latest dealer info suggests that there are only around 180 production slots remaining.
The news come as no surprise. BMW is now heavily invested in the launch of the BMW i4 and iX next-generation electric cars and there is very little incentive to promote or market the heavily discounted and incentivized i3. BMW’s first production series electric car was off to a rocky start in 2013, but over time, it gained a cult and became a good seller for the Bavarian automaker. The i3 hatchback with its quirky looks but fun driving dynamics is a popular choice in Europe, especially in the Northern hemisphere.
When it goes out of production – likely in 2022 for the rest of the markets – the i3 will go down as the first and maybe last BMW built on a full carbon fiber frame. When BMW launched the i3 and i8 in 2013, the two projects were not only considered the most advanced within BMW, but also in the automotive world. The first electric BMW and also the first hybrid sportscar from Munich made use of BMW’s knowledge in carbon fiber construction, but at a much larger scale. The cars were innovative when it came to sustainability, production processes and manufacturing of series cars, and have won several awards over the years.
Furthermore, the i3 proved that a dedicated EV platform is the right approach by giving designers and engineers a lot of freedom in design and packaging. Even though it came with a hefty investment – in the billions of euros – the BMW i division took the Munich-based automaker into an early electric future. It also gave them a lot of manufacturing knowledge which was later used in many different BMW models.
Overall, the i3 was and still is a successful BMW product. It might not have the sales numbers to back it up, but the entire company has certainly profited from its birth. So if you’re looking for a piece of history, and likely a future classic, time is ticking.