BMW i3 on its way out, no direct successor planned

BMW will cease production of its quirky i3 for the United States in July.

BMW Blog first reported the news a week ago, based on information from a dealer bulletin, and it’s since been confirmed by the automaker.

Production for other markets is expected to run into 2022, after which the compact electric hatch will be phased out without a direct successor.

2020 BMW i3

2020 BMW i3

In a 2019 interview with the Financial Times (subscription required), Pieter Nota, BMW’s sales and marketing chief, said there were no plans for an i3 successor as BMW was more focused on electrifying its core models.

As a result, the void of the i3 in BMW’s lineup will be filled by an electric version of the next-generation X1. Prototypes for the compact electric crossover, which will be called an iX1, are currently out testing. There’s also the possibility of BMW offering an electric version of the 1-Series compact hatchback sold overseas, the oft-rumored i1, to also fill in for the i3.

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And while the i3 won’t spawn a direct successor, its nameplate may make a return on an electric version of the 3-Series currently testing.

Final BMW i8

Final BMW i8

The BMW i3 arrived on the market in 2013 as a 2014 model, alongside the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car which ceased production in 2020. The cars were launched at a time when electrification was still in its infancy for established brands. As a result, BMW designed the i3 and i8 so that the models would stand out from the rest of its lineup, though Tesla quickly proved that electric cars don’t need to look quirky to sell. Sales of the i3 in the U.S. last year reached just 1,508 units.

The current i3 features a 42.2-kilowatt-hour battery rated at 153 miles of range by the EPA. A model with a smaller battery and twin-cylinder range extender is available. Known as the i3 REx, this model is rated at 126 miles of range on electric power and a total 200 miles with the range extender doing duty.

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Now BMW is ready to launch the next phase of its EV offensive. It will start with the launch of the iX and i4 in early 2022, after which BMW will start offering electric versions of most of the vehicles in its lineup.

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