When the BMW i3 launched simultaneously world-wide in 2013, the hype was palpable. Unfortunately, car-buyers did not buy into it.
This is a testament to how quickly the business of electrification is evolving. In less than six years, BMW went from being a pioneer in electrification with its “i” family of cars to tumbling behind the majority of its competitors. These are the risks of attempting to predict the market’s future desires. Unfortunately for BMW, the BMW i3 did not catch on or live up to its potential and so may not be replaced.
We were in New York when the then-new BMW i3 hit the world stage. It was revolutionary on so many levels that it could not fail. From a bespoke carbon fibre platform, an electric motor, a battery, an optional small petrol engine fitted as a range-extender, everything seemed in the BMW i3’s favour. The only missing element was a buyer.
Although 150,000 were sold as of May of this year, it seems as though this number might be insufficient to justify the return of the car, or at least use the same materials and technologies for a low-volume vehicle.
In an interview with autoexpress, Pieter Nota, Member of Board of Management at BMW said: “It is difficult to say if the i3 will have a straight successor as it [electrification] goes more into the mainstream like the upcoming iX3,” “The i3 had a pioneering role – it was at the very beginning of BMW’s electrification plans but what we are seeing now is that electrification is moving more into the mainstream.”
We know that an iX3 is expected next year and that BMW intends to launch no fewer than 25 new electrified vehicles come 2023. As part of this plan, 2021 will see the arrival of the i4 Gran Coupé to compete with the Tesla Model 3.