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The BMW i3 was first released in 2013, and since then it’s been the basis for other designs utilizing its electric vehicle platforms. Now the BMW i3 is being discontinued, and you only have a short time to get one if you want one. BMW plans on stopping production of the i3 in July of 2021.

The 2021 BMW i3 drives away on a road surrounded by farmland.
2021 BMW i3 | BMW

The BMW i3 was supposed to be a city car

The BMW tested the waters of electric vehicles (but hopefully didn’t put anything electric into water) with the i3. The BMW i3 never had a lot of range, and perhaps that’s one of the things that did it in. When it first came out, it only had 80 miles of range, which could be barely enough (or not enough) for someone who commutes to work or has to transport the kids around. However, if you’re just going to hop in your little electric car to the other side of the city, 80 miles may be sufficient. 

Now the BMW i3 has a longer range, growing to 113 miles by 2017. Now it can get up to 153 miles unless you opt for the Rex, which gets you just about 200 miles.

The BMW i3 sold reasonably well

Forbes notes that the i3s sales increased every year, yet the BMW i3 is still being discontinued. It was the world’s third most popular electric vehicle from 2014 to 2016, and sold nearly 40,000 vehicles in 2020. The i3 even won awards, such as the World Car Design of the Year. It also won the World Green Car of the Year awards in 2014.

BMW tried different things when making its first electric car. This has made it possible for them to imagine an electric future for BMW. A statement by BMW reads, “The success of the BMW i3 and the experience gained in developing and manufacturing it have laid the groundwork for the next generation of BMW electric vehicles — the fully electric BMW iX and the BMW i4 Gran Coupe, both of which arrive in the US early next year.” 

Yet the i3 cost BMW billions

So why is the BMW i3 being discontinued? BMW spared no expense with its experimental i3. It used carbon-fiber and aluminum in the frame, and built new factories just to produce that. The i3 used recycled materials, which was less common at the time. It helped BMW to shape its future as a potential leader in the EV world.

Still, that came with a cost. Forbes states that the i3’s “design and engineering” cost BMW more than $3.5 billion. Between the new production facilities BMW built, plus the cost of shipping pieces and parts and cars back and forth, BMW spent a huge amount of money on the i3. On top of the costs, production wasn’t exactly high. BMW built a plant just for the i3 in Leipzig, Germany, but production will have been maxed out at about 250,000. 

Altogether, the BMW i3 is a great choice for people who love BMW and electric vehicles, and don’t have a huge need for range. Yet its days are numbered – literally. By the end of July, 2021, the BMW i3 is being discontinued, so if you want to get one, you’d better hurry up.


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