BMW i3 is EV cult classic in U.S.

BMW’s first mass-market EV, the i3, is gaining cult status in the U.S.

When BMW launched its i3 electric-hatchback in 2013, it was the automaker’s first ever mass-produced full-electric vehicle.

A quirky little car, with four seats, rear-hinged back doors and a frame made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, the i3 stood dramatically apart from the rest of the brand’s lineup.

This was by design. BMW was not trying to convince its core customers to abandon their sporty sedans and roomy SUVs — the goal was to entice early EV adopters to give the automaker a try.

The plan worked perhaps too well. When the i3 started popping up on U.S. dealership lots, BMW loyalists largely ignored it, while new customers came looking for the car.


BMW i3 Test Drive (Image: T. Larkum)

BMW i3 Test Drive (Image: T. Larkum)

By 2021, the company was ready to refocus on its core customers, and set a goal of making 50 percent of all BMW sales EVs by 2030.

In January 2022, BMW said it would stop production of the i3 entirely, instead leaning into larger, longer range EV options like the i4 and iX — cars meant to look like the brand’s other models.

Over the i3’s nine years on the market in the U.S., slightly more than half of sales went to first-time BMW buyers. But it sold fewer than 50,000 units, according to data from Edmunds, often at steep discounts.

Read more: AutomotiveNewsEurope

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