BMW has been making the quirky i3 electric vehicle since 2013 and it’s proven to be a remarkable success story; it was one of the first truly successful EVs and it was, at one point, the world’s second best selling EV after the Nissan Leaf. It’s been in production for nearly a decade, but it looks like things won’t stay like that for long.
We already know that BMW intends to use the i3 name to designate the fully-electric version of the 3 Series sedan, as well as replace the current i3 with a more conventional small electric crossover, the iX1. Australia’s drive says it has information that BMW will cease i3 production at its Leipzig plant this summer, in July.
The i3 has sold over 220,000 examples around the world by now - it reached the 200,000 sales milestone in October of 2020 - but it was also a difficult vehicle to produce for BMW and expensive to repair for its owners because of its extensive use of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer, as well as aluminum in its body.
Gallery: BMW i3 production in Leipzig
BMW updated the i3 over time, increasing its battery capacity and range and adding a sportier i3S model to the range in 2018 and a range extender version with motorbike engine used as a generator is still part of the range, although the automaker says it will never build another such vehicle.
So what about the i3’s crossover replacement? Well, it will be the electric version of the next-gen BMW X1 crossover, built on the same FAAR platform as the Mini lineup. It is being developed by BMW and Brilliance Automotive and it will be built in China for the rest of the world, just like the larger iX3, and it’s expected to debut in 2023 or 2024.