agzand
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

BMW i3 – One of the Most Underrated Cars

This is one of the few articles published around i3 production end:

https://www.bmwblog.com/2022/07/13/bmw- ... rated-cars
eNate
Posts: 929
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: BMW i3 – One of the Most Underrated Cars

I love these flowery obituaries as the i3 seemed to be more often kicked by auto journalists and EV enthusiasts for every imaginable reason.

But one thing in the Wired article -- which seems well researched -- jumps out at me: "It has sold in excess of 250,000 units—not as many as its maker hoped"

I find that an odd comment when in the next paragraph from Frank Weber: "Every year we were producing more i3s. Every year it was becoming more and more attractive."

However in April 2014, Bloomberg wrote "BMW has increased production of the i3 electric city car (from 70 per day) 43 percent to meet demand that has exceeded the carmaker’s initial expectations. The current production rate translates to about 20,000 vehicles for the full year, almost twice as much as BMW’s initial sales forecast."

And let's not forget the rescinded call in 2019 (3 years premature), as written up here by Forbes: "BMW will start focusing more on electrifying its mainstream models—a strategy that we have started seeing in their new Mini Electric"

This was after the more mainstream i5 CUV was canceled and X3 was sent back to the drawing board in 2017.

This is capped with the not-easily-scalable manufacturing and assembly process for this car: "The full capacity of the advanced assembly plant in Leipzig, Germany is about 30,000 units annually. The rest of this year will see the plant running at close to full capacity, and 2015 will be the first year to see the maximum number of 30,000 i3s built and sold. This news comes on the heels of the February announcement that partner SGL would double carbon fiber production to support demand for the carbon fiber-intensive i3 and the upcoming i8 as well as BMW’s legacy vehicles that will see increased use of the material. Early demand outstripped the company’s expectations"

As it turned out, they exceeded their original production estimates by 50%, but at a significant cost: "BMW only expanded i3 production, which started in 2013, in 2018 and increased the capacity from 130 to 200 units per day – or 50,000 per year."

Summing this all up, my take is the i3 outlived and outperformed its original life expectancy. It was done because of its inability to scale economically, and its "poor" performance compared to better handling, longer range EVs for the same cost. None of that detracts from its unique construction, cool vibe, compact size, and driving enjoyment. It's destined to remain a classic as long as owners can affordably keep them on the road.

I definitely think it lasted longer and sold more units than BMW originally imagined.
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agzand
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:00 pm

Re: BMW i3 – One of the Most Underrated Cars

I think i3 sales eventually exceeded BMWs original plans. As mentioned above manufacturing process was not suitable for very large volume production.

I think what happened was that the BEV market expanded even further than BMW (or anyone else, for that matter) ever expected at much higher pace. Tesla got a million genuine orders for Model 3. BMWs strategy of BEV city car and PHEV/diesel real cars fell to the way side pretty quickly. They CEO change in 2015 also put the brakes on bespoke BEV development, which resulted in the mess that they are in right now.

Finally a few more recent articles from TopGear, which were a fan of BMW i3 from the beginning:

https://www.topgear.com/car-reviews/bmw/i3

https://www.topgear.com/car-news/electr ... ard-bmw-i3
frictioncircle
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: BMW i3 – One of the Most Underrated Cars

eNate wrote: Sat Jul 30, 2022 2:21 pm I love these flowery obituaries as the i3 seemed to be more often kicked by auto journalists and EV enthusiasts for every imaginable reason.
...
I definitely think it lasted longer and sold more units than BMW originally imagined.

I think we have reached the Final Final Final...
https://www.motor1.com/news/602715/bmw- ... s-sendoff/

I love this quote:
All told, BMW sold more than 250,000 examples of the i3 worldwide, which makes it the automaker's most successful electrified vehicle to date in terms of pure sales, and one of the most successful EVs of all time.
stumbledotcom
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Contact: Website

Re: BMW i3 – One of the Most Underrated Cars

Traditionalists, whether BMW insiders, journalists, or the general public, seemed to dislike the i3 from the start. I suspect because it challenges conventional thinking on multiple levels. As others have noted, it was designed for low volume production so it was never going to achieve 3-series level sales. A better comparison would be other low volume models such as the Z sports cars. The Z3 E36/7/8 sold 297k over seven years. The replacement Z4 E85/6 tallied 198k in six years. And the Z4 E89 production was 188k over seven years.

In addition, people who look at the i3 as just a small, relatively low range EV miss the significance of its design, construction, and sustainable production/materials. I'm convinced it remains the best city car yet created. I'm not be giving up my '21 willingly.
frictioncircle
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: BMW i3 – One of the Most Underrated Cars

stumbledotcom wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 10:46 am In addition, people who look at the i3 as just a small, relatively low range EV miss the significance of its design, construction, and sustainable production/materials. I'm convinced it remains the best city car yet created.
I agree with you stumbledotcom!

I've daily-driven two i3s for just about eight years and (as I live in a Megacity) every time I get in mine for a drive I am so thankful that BMW's management gave the i3's designers free reign to run with their vision.

It's my opinion that the i3's original design team looked at the want vs. need decision-making process that car customers mentally run through when shopping for their next ride and they designed the i3 for the "need" side of the equation.

If only we could focus on needs instead of wants.

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