Major Milestone: BMW i3 #100,000 Rolls Off Assembly Line

3 weeks ago by Mark Kane 25

BMW has just reached the ‘coming of age’ milestone of producing it 100,000th i3 from the company’s assembly facility in Leipzig, Germany. The i3 has been produced there since late 2013, and recently received a quasi-face lift for the 2018 model year and also the introduction of the slightly sportier i3s version (and also a range bump prior to that for the 2017 model).

100,000 BMW i3 produced

The daily production of the BMW i3 currently stands at just over 120 per day, and last year 26,631 were made (compared to 2,783 BMW i8s).

As the BMW Group is now approaching another cumulative milestone for total plug-ins sold at 200,000, the i3 still stands for the majority share under the BMW banner.

The BMW Group continues to build on its leading international role in the field of electro-mobility, as the 100,000th BMW i3 rolled off the production line at the company’s Leipzig plant today. The BMW i3 has played a major part in making the BMW Group one of the most successful suppliers of electrified vehicles worldwide.

“Series production of the BMW i3 began in September 2013. The BMW Group has invested a total of 400 million euros in production of BMW i models at the Leipzig location and created more than 800 jobs. Current daily production of the BMW i3 stands at more than 120 units, with an annual production volume in 2016 of 26,631 vehicles.”

In 2018, the BMW i sub-brand will be expanded by i8 Roadster, based on the i8; with a performance and range bump over the original i8 for both.

BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig

At the same time, BMW officially commissioned the BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig, which will ultimately connect up to 700 BMW i3 high-capacity batteries as an energy storage produce. Today, 500 new and used pack are already installed.

Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG said:

“We are proud of the 100,000th BMW i3 built by our plant in Leipzig. The BMW i3 is the original, a true technological pioneer. With BMW i as our spearhead, we intend to remain the leading premium supplier of electro-mobility going forward. We are now looking ahead to the next member of the BMW i family, the i8 Roadster, which will expand our leading position in the field of electro-mobility. In 2025, we will offer our customers a total of 25 models with electrified drive trains. In the interests of sustainability, today we are also presenting a concept for the second use of BMW i3 high-voltage batteries. With our Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, we are looking far beyond the car itself and driving change in our industry with totally new approaches and business models.”

BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig

Plant Director, Hans-Peter Kemser said:

 “We are proud of our team performance, which enables us to celebrate production of the 100,000th BMW i3 today – all with the same premium quality and efficiency as our more conventional models. I would like to thank all our associates for this tremendous achievement,”

More about the Battery2ndLife project:

“Battery2ndLife”: Innovative second use of BMW i3 high-voltage batteries for new business model: BMW Group opens large-scale battery storage in Leipzig

BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig

The official commissioning of the battery storage farm on the grounds of BMW Plant Leipzig demonstrates innovative, sustainable and profitable second use of BMW i3 batteries after a vehicle reaches the end of its lifecycle. The battery storage unit in Leipzig can house up to 700 used BMW i3 high-capacity batteries. There are currently 500 new and used batteries integrated, because today – four years after the BMW i3 market launch – most battery packs are still in cars on the road. “The capacity of 700 high-voltage batteries is the equivalent of an electric range of 100,000 km in a BMW i3. The scalable approach means that the storage unit could be further expanded to accommodate more batteries. It is also already compatible with upcoming battery generations and therefore future-proof,” underlined Joachim Kolling, Head of Energy Services at the BMW Group. “We are demonstrating once again that the concept of sustainability at BMW i goes far beyond the car.” With wind turbines located on the grounds of the plant, the BMW Battery Storage Farm Leipzig links decentralised captive production from renewable energies with local energy storage and an industrial consumer in a completely unique way. The stationary battery storage farm is also integrated with the public power grid, which enables its electricity to be marketed as primary balancing power. In this way, the BMW Group is making a contri-bution to the stability of the public power grid and performing a valuable function for the wider community. When there is a surplus of power from renewable energies, large-scale battery storage can relieve the grid by absorbing electricity. When there is not enough power in the electricity grid, the facility can release electricity to help stabilise the grid.

Tags: , , , ,

25 responses to "Major Milestone: BMW i3 #100,000 Rolls Off Assembly Line"

  1. Tom says:

    I still think that range extender and a small battery is the best solution. How else are you going to scale to something like 50 million or more vehicles per year any time in the next 20 years?

    1. Derek says:

      Not sure if you noticed, but things are always improving. Batteries get better every year, and that’s just lithium ion, then there’s all the other battery breakthroughs that are being worked on around the world. Pure BEV’s are the path forward…no need in wasting time on hybrids. In 20 years less then 1% of new vehicle sales will be gas/diesel. Good riddance.

      1. SJC says:

        Less than 1% in over 5 years is not a revolution. I have read posts declaring the engine dead and the motor wins…get real.

        1. Cavaron says:

          If there is a small, almost not seeable amount of bacteria in a petry dish and you know they double every minute and you know the dish should be full in 60 minutes. Then when is it 50% full and when is it filled to 1%?

          Answer: You wont be able to see much for about 50 minutes. At minute 53 the bacteria fill about 1% of the dish. It is half full at minute 59. I bet you would have stopped watching after 10 minutes of seeing nothing.

          1. Dan says:

            The bacteria would be exponentially growing at any minute, whether 1 , 2, or 59.

            Go look at growth of EVs. It is growing more or less linearly year over year.

            I’ll buy your argument when said doubling every year happens. That is happening for solar panels, not for EVs.

      2. Warren says:

        I’m on my 6th BEV. Focus, LEAF, 60AH i3 (3), 94Ah i3, and just decided that my 7th will be a brand new Protonic blue irex 94ah that I just picked up last weekend.

        Here is a picture of my two 94Ah i3s. The black BEV is my daily driver. The blue one will be for the family/kids, since they are always complaining about finding charging stations on the road. However the solar orange i3 that we traded in had the smaller battery to make matters worse with the family.

        Although I never planned on getting an irex, the congestion at the DCQC was getting too unpredictable. And sure enough when we were charging the orange 60ah i3 to turn it back in, the blue i3 didn’t even need a charge yet. and on the plus side, it had a quickly fillable 2.4 gallon gas reserve of 70 miles or so. So now I can realistically go 180 miles+. ( I have seen over 200 miles indicated)

        Its just a sense of comfort to know you can go on a longer trip with a quick 3 minute fill up if needed. At the Charging station, I saw a Bolt too. And although it has a longer BEV range, he was also waiting for me and a eGolf to charge. So probably an hour of waiting, and another 2 hours if he needed to charge fully. Realistically, that still leaves you with anxiety of not being able to make your trip on time if you are trying to charge. The i3 on the other hand gives you minimum inconvenience and a superior RWD driving experience. I hope they don’t sell too many of these. I want the federal rebate to still apply when I get a i3s next year when I turn my black on in. In almost 400 miles of driving this week, the irex used about 2 cups of gasoline. But those 2 cups make the trips completely worry and inconvenience free. And although a serial hybrid is not the most efficient design, that 22kw generator is incredibly tiny to fit in that little space next to the motor.

        1. Tony Marco says:

          +1000000000

    2. Some Guy says:

      Just look at Norway, the leader in EV adoption.
      Few years back, 22 kWh battery BEV had one third of the i3 share, and REX version was two thirds. Then they came with the 33 kWh battery, featuring longer range and soon thereafter it was two thirds for the BEV and 1/3 for the REX.
      Has shifted further and 2017 Norwegian registrations until September 30th say ~3500 BEV and 1 REX (yes, you read correctly, in 9 months BMW sold a single car with range extender vs. ~3500 without gasoline option).
      Other markets have also seen the shift away from the REX with the 33 kWh Upgrade, imagine what will happen if they go further towards 40 or 50 kWh…

      1. alohart says:

        I’m pretty certain that Norway’s generous EV incentives have not applied to the i3 REx which would make the i3 REx much more expensive than the i3 BEV. That alone would explain the difference in sales numbers.

      2. Some dude says:

        The Rex version has never held either of those ratios in Norway, it was not even available until about two years ago, and it has not been very popular since, largely due to the much less generous financial incentives.

        1. mx says:

          Norway has REAL CCS high speed charging, making the need for the REX option unnecessary.

          In the USA the REX is an absolute must.

  2. Paul says:

    What would be great is if these original cars like the i3 could be adapted to use the new higher powered batteries, so that the car can get its range doubled by dropping in a revised battery pack. (I’m uncertain whether you could put the new more powerful existing batteries of a 2018 i3 in a 2014 i3 for example).

    1. alohart says:

      The 33 kWh 2017-2018 i3 battery pack can be and has been retrofitted to 2014-2016 i3 BEV’s which had 22 kWh battery packs. Because the 33 kWh battery pack is a bit heavier than the 22 kWh battery pack, BMW has not authorized upgrading REx models.

      I fully expect that it will be possible to upgrade 2014-2018 i3 BEV’s with the upcoming 44 kWh battery pack because the battery cell sizes, connectors, etc., will be identical. BMW and its battery supplier Samsung SDI designed the i3’s battery pack and related software to be upgradable.

      I plan to upgrade the battery pack in our 2014 i3 BEV when its battery pack warranty expires in 2022. By then, battery pack prices should have become more reasonable with 3rd-party suppliers offering such upgrades.

      1. Phaedrus says:

        +1, that’s what I’m also planning with a battery upgrade, but the current battery holds up very well so I will have no range bump in the next few years. I’ll keep this pack for a loooong time I bet.
        It may not be possible to put the coming 120Ah cells in a 2014 model though. But then there are aftermarket suppliers who will find a technical solution to upgrade the i3.

  3. Gio says:

    …Norwsy is a small country and has short dustances, that why they prefer battery cars. I think for big distance best choise is REX…

    1. john doe says:

      Norway is LONG. It has an almost 101 000km coastline.
      Distances has NOTHING to do with the number of pure EV sales.
      Our climate skole, makes it an abnormal number of EVs.

      Cars are expensive in Norway.
      You can buy a Porsche in the US, for the same price as a Camaro in Norway. Wright, engine volume, power and CO2 emissions are used to set the tax. So in general tiny cars with tiny engines are “cheap”(still more expensive then almost every country in the World). That is why most people drive a small weak car, and there are almost never sold a car with a V6 and V8 here. Cars have like 55-110 hp.
      Then EVs came along. Norway made their own EV, and part to help them along, and to give incentives to those who buy a non pollution car, they had no tax on EVs. Not even parking fees and road tolls, they didn’t pay value added tax on the EV sitter. Charging was free on all public chargers.
      They don’t get any tax credits or other kinds of kickback. Since there are no taxes, and no VAT car manufacturers filled the EVs with equipment so sweeten the deal even more.
      People could buy a car with more power, equipment and super low running costs.
      Since Norway is a country with fairly flat wages, it cost a lot to maintain a car.(example: People working for McDonalds make over 20 dollars an hour). When people in Norway sees the part prices in the US, they don’t belive it. 1/4-1/3 of our prices is common.
      Add higher wages (resulting in expensive maintenance costs with 200 dollars an hour). An EV with very low maintenance costs is suddenly very attractive.
      Add a gasoline price of about 2 dollars a liter, and you’ll see the picture.
      One tank of gas (80 liter) cost the same as a cheap charter trip, with airline tickets and a week in a hotel (in Spain, Greece, Tyrkey and so on).

      So. . That (combined with environmental concerns) is the reason for the high EV sales.
      Also. . As a company car, an EV gives extra goodwill.

  4. wavelet says:

    100K is ~25K/yr average since late 2013. I was under the impression the i3 was selling a lot worse than BMW had been anticipating, to the extent there were internal arguments about maybe they needed to abandon the BEV approach entirely for now…
    While 25K/yr isn’t wonderful, it doesn’t sound horrible given the rather high price and price/features.

    1. Tom says:

      The reason you were under that impression is that most of the coverage is the US and/or Tesla. The i3 is at a pretty good clip these days in sales and if I understand correctly at about production limits due to constraint of carbon fiber. There probably isn’t a great deal of unmet demand but 120 per day works out to a pretty clean 40,000 clip for 2017. That’s why BMW can get away with the price increase for the minor upgrade in the sport.

  5. leafowner says:

    It took BMW 4+ years to get to 100k — my bet is the Model 3, the BMW killer, will get there a tad faster.

    1. WARREN says:

      All I can say after looking at the interior shots of the Tesla Model 3 is look at the craftsmanship and interior luxury of the new BMWs.

      1. William says:

        BMW interior luxury is a hard one to surpass. Tesla has a long way to go, to try and meet or beat the BMW brand in refined luxury appointments.

    2. john doe says:

      With 400k ++ waiting in line, only production speed will depend on how fast they will reach 100k.
      During 2018 I guess.
      It they get their s*** together, and start volume production of the M3.

      1. dcto says:

        M3 is a BMW. Since 1985.

    3. dcto says:

      BMW are a global full range manufacturer who sell over 2 million units annually, forecasting 50% increase on new ICE, EV & hybrids. The 3 Series is almost a model range of it’s own, multiple drivetrains, body styles. Tesla are bringing 1 new model to market, its production sold possibly years in advance. How is this one car killing a century old luxury brand?

  6. Don Zenga says:

    Great achievement. This proves that an electric car and electric car with range extender can sell well even at a price of $42,000 +. Hope their big investment in a dedicated electric car using carbon fiber frame has been recouped.
    Congratulations BMW.
    A slight price cut can take i3 into much higher sales range.

Leave a Reply