The i3 has been produced in Leipzig, Germany for almost seven years. It’s the first series-produced all-electric car from BMW Group (there is also the i3 REx version with a small emergency ICE generator).
“…the 200 000th BMW i3 model rolled off the production line yesterday – almost silently as always. The BMW i3s with Fluid Black metallic paint finish and accents in BMW i Blue was produced for a customer from Saxony and will be delivered by the BMW branch in Leipzig.”
The BMW i3 achieved a milestone of 150,000 in May 2019, so we can estimate that it needed one and a half years to add an additional 50,000.
As the Group so far sold well over 600,000 plug-in cars (mostly PHEVs), the i3 is responsible for close to one third and remains the best selling plug-in in the lineup (cumulatively).
According to the German manufacturer, the i3 “is still enjoying strong demand”, which is kinda cool after all those years and growing competition from a growing number of newer BEVs on the market.
Currently there are two versions of the i3 BEV: standard (125 kW/170 hp) and sporty i3s (135 kW/184 hp), both equipped with the 44.2 kWh battery pack (almost twice bigger than initial 22.6 kWh 7 years ago). The WLTP range varies between 285 and 310 km (177-193 miles).
The i3 is quite unique, as it utilizes carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) on an unprecedented scale for a series-produced cars:
Since 2019, parts from the i3s (like the drive unit) are used also in the all-electric MINI Cooper SE.
The next step for BMW is the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology and the new wave of electric models, starting with the BMW iX3.
The Leipzig plant in particular will start production of new battery modules in 2021.
“The site will become part of the BMW Group’s international production network for battery modules as early as 2021. By 2022, the BMW Group will invest more than 100 million euros in establishing battery module production in Leipzig. In future, the lithium-ion cells supplied, will be assembled into standardised modules in a highly automated process. These will then be assembled together with the connections to the vehicle, the control units and the cooling units in an aluminium housing specific to each model. By 2022 more than 150 employees will be working in the battery module production in Leipzig.”