BMW Waves Goodbye to the i3

BMW is a popular and successful brand, but BMW isn’t afraid to discontnue a model like many other automakers. That is the unfortunate fate of the BMW i3. While it had its pros, it also had many cons. Here’s a look back at the history of the BMW i3, which was BMW’s first EV, and where BMW will go from there in terms of EVs.

The front end of a blue BMW i3 with the grille and logo displayed and a plate that reads 'THE i3.'
BMW i3 | Getty Images

The end of the BMW i3

Like J.D. Power wrote, the BMW i3 made its debut in 2013, and BMW is discontinuing it for the 2022 model year. In fact, BMW stopped producing the car in July 2021. However, this move wasn’t a big shock for Beemer fans. After all, the i3 was clearly a product of its time. While 2013 wasn’t that long ago, it may as well have been decades for EVs.

Many people found value in the i3, but the BMW’s specs were not very impressive, especially compared to its competitors, both in terms of EVs and regular cars. For example, the i3 was a compact car that could seat four people, but it only had a 168-hp electric motor, and it could only get about 150 miles of range. 

This BMW EV SUV had a lot of firsts under its belt

Those specs could be improved with add-ons like a range extender, but 150 miles of range wasn’t impressing many people. However, that doesn’t take away from what the i3 represented at the time. After all, the i3 was not only BMW’s first EV, but it was also one of the first EVs in the world to get mass-produced, according to J.D. Power. 

Those are some nice things to have under its belt, as EVs are only becoming more popular. In a way, the i3 was one of the pioneers for EVs. It wasn’t a Tesla by any means, but it showed that a regular, established automaker was willing to invest in EV technology, too. And, as many folks know by now, many automakers are investing in EV tech, so BMW was ahead of the curve there. 

In any case, while the i3 chugged along with minor updates over the years, its death isn’t the end of EVs at BMW. After all, the i3 was also the spearhead of a new sub-brand at BMW. Like J.D. Power wrote, the i3 was the first car in the BMW i sub-brand, and this sub-brand is still going strong today. In fact, it’ll continue to be strong in the future, too.

BMW is investing more into EVs

Not only is BMW investing in EV tech, but BMW is also rolling out newer and more competitive EVs. One of BMW’s latest entries is the BMW i4, and like the i3, it’s a compact sedan. Unlike the i3, its specs are quite impressive, making it a great choice for folks who can afford its $55,000 price tag. Not only does it have a range that’s well over 300 miles, but its electric motors also deliver enough power to give it a true BMW experience. 

The other major entry is the BMW iX, which is a mid-size luxury SUV. Like the i4, the iX debuted in the 2021 model year, with impressive specs. It’s not as fast as the i4, but it has far more range than the i3 did, as the iX can get over 300 miles of range. That being said, the iX will start at about $83,000, so it won’t be affordable for everyone.

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