bmw i3, countryman, discontinued, germany, leipzig

The BMW i3 is now history. BMW delivered the last 18 units of the company’s first electric car a few days ago. The company discontinued production of the electric pioneer in Leipzig at the end of June after they had manufactured around 250,000 BMW i3.

The last 18 vehicles, all handed over at the BMW Welt in Munich, are i3 cars in Galvanic Gold Metallic. “BMW Welt has always been a place of encounter and innovation. It was, therefore, more than fitting that the impulse-giving BMW i3 was given a glittering and dignified send-off for its final delivery,” the automaker writes.

While the four-meter-long electric car with its unique carbon-fibre body is being discontinued without replacement, BMW has found a direct follow-up for the i3 model designation. Since mid-May – when the i3 was still on in Leipzig – the BMW i3 eDrive 35L has been rolling off the production line at the new Lydia plant in Shenyang, China. However, the electric sedan based on the BMW 3 Series has nothing in common with the European i3 despite the similarity in name.

Since its launch in 2013, the BMW i3 has sold in 74 countries. With the second battery update in 2018 to 42.2 kWh gross, the i3’s registration numbers steadily increased. In Germany, the nine-year-old model still came in at 12,178 new registrations in 2021, ranking 10th among electric cars – ahead of models like the Opel Corsa-e, Audi e-tron and Hyundai Ioniq 5. In 2022, the series cracked the 250,000 unit mark, placing it among the world’s most successful electric vehicles in the premium compact segment, according to the German carmaker.

BMW has yet to come up with a predecessor in the segment or instead appears to have handed this down to its subsidiary Mini. Earlier reports from 2019 had set the end of the BMW i3 in 2024, but news of the discontinuation reached us in January. The premature end for the i3 comes against the background of the restructuring of the Leipzig plant for the start of production of the new generation Mini Countryman. The new EV will roll off in Leipzig in 2023 based on BMW’s FAAR front-wheel drive architecture.

2025 will reportedly be the last time Mini will launch a new model with an internal combustion engine variant. After that, only purely electric models will follow, so by 2030, Mini will be an all-EV brand.

BMW, however, appears still uncertain – the new class, or Neue Klasse as the German carmaker calls its next-gen vehicles, will include a new 3-series model, but in which form or which drive type remains open.

One may say it would be great to see some of the pioneering spirits from the BMW i3 return rather sooner than later.

bmwgroup.com (in German)

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