BMW i3, i8 Might Die A Slow Death


BMW i3 (i3s), i8 and the latest i8 Roadster could end their lives without next-generation replacements, according to media reports.

BMW i3s i3 at the IAA 2017 (InsideEVs, Tom Moloughney)

The German manufacturer launched its BMW i subbrand as dedicated plug-in models, unlike many other carmakers who preferred conversions of existing models.

Then, BMW began to develop tons of plug-in hybrids, using its conventional cars, while other makes began development of separate all-electric platforms.

According to Autocar, the future of the i3 and i8 aren’t certain under the new strategy, which treats BMW i as a solution to “address a particular challenge or meet a specific demand“. In other words, there could be a need for a new i4 model (“variant of the future 4 Series GT“), but i3 might not be replaced when it comes time for a new generation car.

BMW i boss Robert Irlinger said:

“We’re still deciding [about] the i8. We see a market for new kinds of sports cars. Whatever it’s called, or if it’s a new kind of sports car, is still in discussion.”

Autocar remarked:

“BMW i design boss Domagoj Dukec: compared the role of the i8 to the M1 supercar. He said: “It worked at the time, but why do it more than once? The i8 could be the M1 – it doesn’t have to always be a name at BMW. We always give an answer to what people and customers are requiring at that moment in time.”

“Dukec added: “With new i3 and i8, I don’t know; for now, we don’t think about it. For i, there won’t always be an i3, then an i3 after – i is not a parallel universe of BMW.”

The new strategy apparently envisions the iX3 in 2020 (using X3 as a base) among a total of 11 new plug-ins by 2025.

Source: Autocar

Category: BMW

Tags: , , ,

35 responses to "BMW i3, i8 Might Die A Slow Death"
  1. L'amata says:


    1. offib says:

      That’s a bad thing, dude…

      1. Robb Stark says:

        Not if BMW makes a ground up 2 or 3 Series BEV sedan.

        A ground up dedicated BEV sports car would be cool but irrelevant in the grand picture.

        1. mx says:

          Replacing CarbonFiberPlastic and Aluminum frame with steel, you’re bound to need more battery and a larger electric motor than what the i3 requires.

          You’re also not going to get the Performance, the Ride or the Efficiency of the i3. If this is the last gen of the i3, then it’s a sad day.

          1. alohart says:

            I agree. If the aluminum/CFRP/thermoplastic i3 is discontinued, we might replace our 2014 i3 with the final model. So far, there’s no other RWD compact hatchback EV with a sophisticated rear suspension, light weight, and corrosion-resistant construction which is important in our humid, salty environment.

          2. Mint says:

            I’d bet anything that the next BMW sedan EV will have better performance than the i3, a better ride, and at least better highway efficiency (if not overall). It will also have a fifth seat and proper rear doors.

            The Model 3 already does all 3 better than BMW.

            By not using CFRP, the next BMW EV will have a far lower carbon footprint for construction, too. The idea that it’s built with wind/hydro power is ridiculous, because if those renewables weren’t used by BMW, they’d instead displace fossil fuels elsewhere.

            1. pjwood1 says:

              I agree the next one will be better. Tesla went to steel, albeit smaller, and lost 800lbs.

              These cars were built for a specific purpose, but to say that was entirely based on customer need is naive.

              It will be interesting to get a bead on where each Model 3 buyer comes from. For now, existing owners, but soon someplace else. It will be a “specific moment in time”, to BMW.

            2. L'amata says:

              Guaranteed For Sure!

              1. WARREN says:

                Yeah, one of the most advanced cars out there. And most CFRP vehicles are six figures. The i3 in that context is a bargain. Do your research.

    2. Alltesla says:

      One is FUGLY, the other is too expensive and unpractical

  2. VazzedUp says:

    Before they choose to pull the plug on the i8, they should make a full BEV version. Beautiful car.

  3. gerry says:

    Which means my rare orange coloured solarorange i3 BEV will be a collectors item after 50 years..

        1. jelloslug says:


          1. Marciemarc says:

            Defenitely ! Just like the Audi A2 is now, the first compact hatchback with full Aluminium frame. Last built in 2005, still asking prices between 4000-8000 euro for this car, and going up for models with few kms.

  4. theBrandler says:

    Good, because putting an i in front of everything was stupid when Apple did it, and even more stupid when everyone else started copying them.

    Just make normal cars that are electric already!!!

    1. jm says:

      There you go! The first automaker that makes a 200 mile+ BEV version of the ubiquitous Camry/Altima/Malibu/Fusion sled won’t be able to make enough of them. Surely there will be demand for the standard 3-box form of classic large sedan in BEV form. You know, a car with framed window glass, instrument panel, air vents, and switches. You know, a car that won’t require you to have a EE degree or a millenial to explain it to you. You know, a car that you won’t have to wait another 18 months before all of the features are delivered via OTAs. I just want a regular friggin’ car that runs off a battery instead of a ICE. Without even “sci-fi doors” even. The closest thing right now is a Fusion Energi with, dare I whisper it, cooled front seats and all of the aforementioned impedimenta. Someone please build it and I (and a ton of others) will come (with checkbooks in hand).

  5. mx says:

    The i3 is a Technical Marvel, and a pleasure to drive.
    It’s BMW’s most efficient and yet powerful little rocket.
    More fun than a Mazda Miata, with room for 4 adults.

    It will be a sad day to replace this with a steal body X2 or X3, which drive more like Jeeps, which is the design role they were built for.

    If you don’t BUY Innovation You Won’t Get Innovation.
    Sad to say but, Tesla Wins.

    1. offib says:

      I met a driver of one who drives all over Ireland doing 30,000 miles per year in his REx, and there are others that do more.

      If we just look at an engineering perspective, it’s underrated, forgotten and badly understated. They just take one look at the i3 with its concept design (that everyone loved in 2011) and its shorter-than-mini design, they’re quick to recoil.

      I would personally believe it’s the best engineered plug-in pound for pound and. If it were Prius sized, it would be a dream car.

      1. krona2k says:

        When other manufacturers have reverse engineered the i3 they have declared it the most technologically advanced production car ever made.

        If BMW could use this technology in a more conventional looking car with a lower price they’d do very well I’m sure.

  6. Tony Marco says:

    The rumors of my demise (BMW Tech) are greatly exaggerated !!!!

    BMW has invested in CFP for the future, not just for two models out now!

    More to come !

  7. ffbj says:

    In the headline change Might to Will and you will have it right.

  8. Bret says:

    I was really excited about the i3 as a concept, but I was hugely disappointed when it finally came out. Between the funky looks and the micro-battery, it fell way short of it’s potential, in my opinion.

    I’m glad to see BMW moving away from the “Mega Cities” concept and onto practical cars for people who need to get to work. If they make a stylish, 5-seat, 3-series EV with a 60+ KwH battery, they will have a hit on their hands. If they make it out of aluminum and CFRP, it would be awesome.

  9. Bret says:

    If I was the President of BMW, I would take the i3 frame and make it wider, so it could fit more batteries and a 5-seat body. Then, I would develop two CFRP bodies, a sedan and a small CUV. I would put regular sized tires on it, windows that roll down, doors that open properly and one bigger LCD screen on the dash. Then, I would try to sell a bunch of them.

  10. Don Zenga says:

    What a nonsense news is this.

    All that BMW has to do in next generation i3 is to make it longer, slightly shorter (in height) from 62 inches / 1.575 mm to 60 inches / 1.520 mm, add AWD trim using another motor, make it look more conventional and rebrand it as CROSSOVER.

    If a much bigger Tesla Model 3 can have 130 MPGe, then the much smaller i3 can increase its efficiency from 124 MPGe to somewhere around 140 MPGe given its smaller dimensions and lighter carbon fiber body and this will also increase its range. Just reduce the price a little and it will be a sell.

    Instead of paying $44K for this car with 114 mile range, anyone will pay the same amount for 310 mile range with long range Model 3. I believe i3 is their only BEV and BEV with REX.
    If VW/MB has electric vehicles and BMW does not, then it will not look good for the company.

    Hope they will go ahead with the redesign.

    1. Asak says:

      The i3, like the Chevy Bolt, is not as aerodynamically shaped as the Model 3. I’m not convinced they can match the Model 3’s efficiency based on its shape. Smaller size/weight can’t make up for poorer aerodynamics. Look at the Smart, it’s tiny, but fuel/energy economy have always been bad.

      1. Dan says:

        Aero is most important on the highway, mass most important around town, efficency of the battery/motor in all situations.

        The tall small car is a good design even if it adds a little in aero drag because such vehicles feel bigger inside than larger lower ones do and are easier to get in and out of.

        My sense is that this is a big part of the rise of the CUVs

        They didn’t have to make the i3 so wierd looking but they must have wanted it to be “distinctive” like the gen 1 leaf.

        1. wavelet says:

          Sure — 2-box MPVs are the most space efficient. But the i3 isn’t very flexible: Only 4 seats, not much cargo space, and the door config is problematic (not so much that the rear ones are suicide doors, but that you need to open the front first. In tight parking situations, that’s a hassle, and not kid-friendly. Not just for child seats — say you want to let off a teenager sitting on the rear RHS on the sidewalk when standing parallel to the curb: You need to reach out to the front RHS door to open it before the kid can open his/her RHS.

          My compact ICE MPV is barely longer and slightly narrower than the i3, and despite that it fits 3 in the back, has better head- and elbow room, and nearly double cargo capacity, whether seats are up or folded/removed.
          Given the i3 is a from-scratch desgined BEV, and uses a skateboard battery, I’m not impressed with the overall functionality of the form factor… And that’s before talking about price.

          1. Don Zenga says:

            Makes sense. Suicide doors are bad, no idea they chose it. It’s too tall and shorter in length. That’s why they should make it bit shorter in height and longer.

            Still $44K is pricey in relation to Model-3. If BMW can reduce by at least 4K with a redesign, then it will help.

            Hope someone in BMW get’s it.

  11. Get Real says:

    I wish that BMW would take the same basic skateboard architecture and adopt all their models to it–skateboard platform with various capacity battery pack in the floor and optional Rex.

    They could keep the CFRP for their higher performance models and use steel/aluminum for their mainstream models.

    The main thing they need is to make way more compelling PEVs and line up their battery supplies to do this.

  12. john doe says:

    I think there will be another generation, since they have made a modular factory just for this.
    More cars made will result in lower capital investment per car made.
    When they sold their marketshare in the carbon fiber factory, I think they made an error.
    We have a few i3 EVs at work, and they have worked perfectly, with not one single problem for years.
    The 5 year maintenance deal they sell cost less then a single maintenance of an ICE car.
    I would like to see a larger Model in the future too, nade with the same materials, and with a look that would sell well.
    Keep the firm, sport ride.

  13. JR says:

    I really hope that is not true, This material CFRP is a breakthrough in serial production of cars, I hope they keep it in future models.
    The exterior design is splitting people, but the construction of the battery in the floor is the way to go.
    The build quality of the I3 is better than my MS, but range and charging infrastructure Tesla is king!

  14. Nix says:

    My biggest fear of owning an i3 long-term has always been having them discontinue it and never offer another car with that tire size. Then having the tires become rare and outrageously expensive.

    BMW already did that to me with their TRX wheels/tires that were non standard sized. But at least those wheels you could replace with a regular wheel. There is nothing close to the i3 that would work to replace those wheels/tires with a standard size.

    1. Stimpy says:

      This is a good point. The tires are already sometimes hard to get even with the i3 still in production.

      I don’t even want to think about what happens when it leaves production! Owners would be smart to consider keeping an extra tire on hand in case of a flat at the same time the needed size is on backorder.

Leave a Reply