Eight and a half years after it was launched, the pioneering BMW i3 electric hatchback is no more.
With over 250,000 units rolling off the production line during this time, the end of an era is marked by the exclusive i3 HomeRun Edition.
BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, where the i3 was built for the global arena, will now start expanding its capacity to produce e-drive components and from 2023 onwards, it will be the first plant in the world where both BMW and Mini vehicles will be produced.
“The BMW i3 started out as an exotic specimen on the still barely tapped market for electric vehicles (EV), developed into a classic with unmistakable charisma already in the course of its production period, and goes down in the company’s history as a pioneer of sustainable mobility,” said the manufacturer.
A brief history of the i3
Since its debut in 2013, the i3 has been sold in more than 74 countries, and in many, it enjoyed a significant market share in the EV segment, said BMW.
The i3 also introduced many early adopters and newcomers to the brand, with over 80% of all i3 buyers having never owned a BMW before.
At its time, the little electric hatch was especially unique not only due to its individualistic styling, but also due to its specially-crafted “Drive Module” architecture consisting of an aluminium chassis that carries the e-drive system, suspension, high-voltage battery, as well as the carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell.
“This design, developed from the outset for pure e-mobility, made possible a particularly generous amount of space in the interior and a cockpit and centre console design which is both high-quality and very advanced,” said the i3’s makers.
The EV carries “great symbolic power” for the German carbuilder, according to chairman of the board of management Oliver Zipse.
It was developed “the BMW way” by not following the norm and even had an influence on the design of the later iX.
The knowledge gained in developing the i3’s specific build helped BMW over the years to become one of the few manufacturers out there to have industrial capabilities for carbon fibre body construction and aluminium chassis design.
In addition, the first e-drive components crafted specifically for the i3 laid the groundwork for the powerful electric drivetrains of today, with the fifth generation of these technologies currently being fitted in BMW’s newest EVs.
The i3 has garnered no fewer than a dozen national and international awards since its launch and it has been a shining light for the company’s I department.
Now in 2022, a mere few days ago, the 250,000th unit of the i3 rolled off the production line.
“This makes the BMW i3 the world’s most successful electric vehicle in the premium compact segment. And contrary to what might be expected for a model that is being phased out, its popularity did not wane as it matured,” said the automaker.
Highly-exclusive HomeRun Edition
The HomeRun Edition, the final iteration of the i3, “showcases the elegant and extravagant side of its character” with Frozen paint finishes for the first time and a host of usually-optional features as standard.
Buyers of the exclusive specification had the option between Frozen Dark Grey and Frozen Red II exterior hues, complemented by double-spoke 20-inch wheels, an electrically-operated glass roof with solar control glazing, and adaptive LED headlights.
Inside, the premium additions continue with the “Suite interior design” offering Vernasca Dark Truffle leather upholstery, a leather instrument panel and steering wheel, Carum Grey roof lining, and ambient lighting with welcome lights.
Only 10 units of the i3 HomeRun Edition have been built for the whole world, and the joyous owners were able to witness the completion of their vehicles in the final assembly hall for themselves.