BMW i3 production for the US set to end this month

The BMW i3 represented the company’s first major step into the world of electric cars when it first debuted back in 2013. After years of being on sale and several updates, the time of the i3 is set to come to an end, as sales of the model in the United States will conclude this month, with other markets likely to follow.

This is according to BMW Blog, who sighted a dealer bulletin confirming that production of the i3 for the US will cease by this month. The i3 is manufactured BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany alongside the i8, the latter already discontinued as of last year.

The move isn’t that surprising considering BMW has said in the past that the i3 will likely not be renewed for another generation. Furthermore, the German carmaker is currently focused on its new range of EVs, including the i4, iX and iX3, which are certainly more conventional-looking compared to the quirky, high-roof hatchback.

The peculiar looks might make the i3 an oddity in BMW’s model range, but it was a revolutionary car for the carmaker at the time. The i3 was the first BMW to feature a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) safety cell that adhered to an aluminium chassis, with this approach also replicated for the plug-in hybrid i8 that came later.

BMW i3 production for the US set to end this month

The use of the lightweight material was necessary to counter the weight of the batteries used, which didn’t offer the same energy capacity like the batteries of today. The goal was to reduce the amount of heft the electric motors had to move, which reduced energy consumption in order to provide better range.

While no other series production BMW has been built with a carbon-fibre tub since the i3 and i8, the knowledge gained was applied to company’s Carbon Core body structure that is used for the current G11/G12 7 Series.

That’s not all, as 95% of the materials used to produce an i3 can be recycled, and the manufacturing plant in Leipzig obtains its power from renewable energy sources. These are the steps that BMW took in its push for sustainable mobility, with the i3 being the poster child of the initiative back then.

For all its positives, the i3 was rather expensive for what is effectively a car that is more comfortable on city streets. It wasn’t a total commercial flop though, as BMW sold over 165,000 units of the i3 globally since the model’s launch, helped along by government incentives for EVs in certain markets.

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