An era is coming to an end at the BMW Group plant in Leipzig. Series production of the BMW i3 ends around eight and a half years after the start. Driving force, innovation driver, trailblazer for locally emission-free driving pleasure: the list of attributes that have accompanied the BMW Group’s first mass-produced automobile with a purely electric drive since its debut in 2013 is long. The BMW i3 started out as an exotic item in the then hardly developed market for electric vehicles, developed into a classic with an unmistakable charisma over the course of its production period and went down in the history of the company as a pioneer of sustainable mobility.
BMW i3 Edition Home Run
For the BMW Group plant in Leipzig, saying goodbye to the BMW i3 means entering a new chapter in electromobility. In addition to the production of high-voltage battery modules, which has been in place since May 2021, further e-drive components will be manufactured there immediately in a seamless transition. And as early as next year, production of the next generation of the MINI Countryman will start at the same place – including a fully electric drive. In this way, the competencies of the workforce in the field of electromobility that have been built up over the past few years are being consistently used and further deepened. At the same time, the BMW Group plant in Leipzig will become the first location in the company's worldwide production network where BMW and MINI models are manufactured together.
The final anniversary: 250.000 electric driving pleasures made in Leipzig.
The BMW i3 ended its production run with an impressive final sprint. Just a few days ago in Leipzig the 250.000th Example of the compact electric vehicle manufactured. This makes the BMW i3 the world's most successful electric vehicle in the premium compact segment. And unlike what you might expect from a discontinued model, its popularity didn't wane as it matured.
The BMW i3 was sold in 74 countries around the world. In many markets, it achieved a significantly higher market share in the electric vehicle segment than the BMW brand in the field of conventionally powered automobiles. It also succeeded in getting additional target groups interested in premium mobility from BMW. In the early years, more than 80 percent of all BMW i3 buyers were new customers for the BMW Group.
The continuing appeal of the BMW i3, which is produced exclusively at the Leipzig site for the entire world market, is also based on a special form of individuality. Its unique vehicle architecture consists of a drive module as an aluminum chassis that carries the electric drive, the chassis and the high-voltage battery, and a passenger cell made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) known as the life module. This design, which was developed from the start for pure e-mobility, created space for a particularly generous amount of space in the interior and a high-quality and progressive design of the cockpit and center console. The same applies to the exterior design, which is still groundbreaking even in the ninth year of production and is less committed to fashion or status than to technological avant-gardism.
Visionary technology carrier with strong symbolic power.
With these properties, the BMW i3 not only paved the way for the transformation into a CO2-free mobility, but also as evidence that can be experienced on the road of the diverse areas of innovation in the BMW Group. "The BMW i3 has a very strong symbolic power," says Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and describes the development of the BMW i3 as a prime example of the "BMW way", which is characterized in particular by the courage to "design pioneering topics , to do something different and not just follow the mainstream.” According to Zipse, the associated attitude continues to exist, because “the BMW iX, which is quite surprising in terms of its capabilities, has its origins in this corporate culture”.
The employees involved in the production of the BMW i3 at the BMW Group plant in Leipzig know only too well what this culture means in practice. After all, the BMW i3 was a visionary technology leader from day one, and not just because of its drive. With its Life-Drive architecture, it also set new standards in the field of intelligent lightweight construction. In Leipzig, innovative processes that are unique in the automotive industry were established for molding large-format body parts from the particularly light high-tech material CFRP.
Today, the BMW Group has unique expertise in the automotive sector in the industrial use of carbon in body construction and aluminum in the construction of chassis components. "The BMW i3 is a real trailblazer and the epitome of pioneering spirit," says Milan Nedeljković, Board Member for Production at BMW AG. "With him, the Leipzig plant became the birthplace of e-mobility at BMW." With the expansion of the production of e-drive components, the Leipzig plant will remain "lively in the future", says Nedeljković. "It will become a hub for electromobility and will supply our production network with components worldwide."
Innovation driver for e-mobility and multiple award winner.
With its model-specific technological developments, the BMW i3 also became an innovation driver for the BMW and MINI brands in numerous other areas. Since 135, the 184 kW/3 hp electric motor of the BMW i2020s has also been providing urban driving fun and a locally emission-free go-kart feeling in MINI style. Since then, the all-electric MINI Cooper SE has become the British brand's most popular model variant.
The BMW eDrive drive technology originally developed for the BMW i3 is now in its fifth generation. It is used in numerous purely electric and plug-in hybrid models from BMW and MINI. The ramp-up of electromobility will continue to be accelerated in the coming years. By 2030, every second BMW Group vehicle sold worldwide should be fully electric. The BMW i3 was able to collect numerous awards during its production period. In Germany it received the “Green Steering Wheel” back in 2013, followed three years later by the “Golden Steering Wheel”, also awarded by “Auto Bild” and “Bild am Sonntag”.
Further national and international successes in jury decisions and audience polls recognized the design, the vehicle concept, the interior design, the sustainability, the lasting value and the networking technology of the BMW i3. These include class wins in the competitions of the magazines "Auto Zeitung" and "auto, motor und sport", awards as "UK Car of the Year", "Green Car of the Year", "Classic of the Future" and "Swiss Car of the Year". ' as well as the 'World Car Design Award', the 'iF gold product design award' and the French 'Trophée de l'argus'.
Rethinking mobility: The holistic approach of the BMW i brand.
In addition to the purely electric drive, the selection of materials consistently geared towards sustainability and resource-saving production also contribute to the excellent ecological balance of the BMW i3. It was the first model from the BMW Group to receive an ISO certificate issued by independent auditors right from the time it was launched, which confirmed its optimized environmental balance over the entire life cycle.
Some recycled raw materials are used for its outer skin made of thermoplastic materials. The plastic used in the interior consists of 25 percent recycled material. The textiles used for the seat surfaces are made entirely of recycled fibers. The door panels of the BMW i3 are made of kenaf fibers. Eucalyptus wood from certified cultivation in Europe is used as the raw material for parts of the instrument panel.
The comprehensive concept for sustainability also includes the comprehensive use of renewable energy in the production of the BMW i3. Four wind turbines on the premises of the BMW Group plant in Leipzig supply the electricity required for its production. They made the Saxon location a pioneer for balance sheet CO at an early stage2-neutral vehicle production, which has been standard in all BMW Group plants around the world since last year.
In addition, the BMW i brand has provided impulses for sustainable driving pleasure and a comprehensive transformation to a CO in many ways and far beyond the development of electrically powered vehicles2-neutral mobility set. These activities include the urban car sharing service DriveNow (today SHARE NOW), which offers many users an ideal opportunity to get in touch with electromobility for the first time, as well as the offers for convenient charging at home known today as BMW Charging and MINI Charging and for easy access to public charging stations and the BMW Group's participation in the European fast-charging network Ionity.
Perfect entry into the world of e-mobility - and reliable endurance runner.
For many customers, the BMW i3 soon became a constant companion for urban mobility, for daily commuting and often far beyond. The frequent drivers among the "early adopters" praise above all the low energy and maintenance costs, but also the reliability of the vehicle and the cycle stability of its high-voltage battery. They report on brake pads that have not had to be changed even after more than 250.000 kilometers, because when driving the BMW i3, a large part of the deceleration performance is achieved by means of recuperation, and on the impressive long-term quality of the high-voltage battery, which can also be used after similarly high Runtimes lead to only an insignificantly reduced range.
The BMW Group took this positive experience as an opportunity to increase the maximum mileage associated with the eight-year warranty period for the battery from the previous 2020 to 100.000 kilometers at the beginning of 160.000. The high-voltage battery in the BMW i3 has undergone continuous development since its market launch, doubling its storage capacity with the same installation space. With a cell capacity of 120 ampere hours (Ah) and a gross energy content of 42,2 kilowatt hours (kWh), it now enables ranges of up to 307 kilometers (BMW i3) according to WLTP.
In the meantime, the high-voltage batteries developed and produced by the BMW Group are also convincing in other fields of application. Examples of this are the street scooter type transporters used by Deutsche Post and the city buses from the Turkish manufacturer Karsan, as well as motor boats with electric drives from the Torqeedo brand, for which they also serve as a source of energy. In addition, BMW i high-voltage batteries are used as stationary energy stores for regeneratively generated electricity from wind or solar systems. The BMW Group plant in Leipzig also has such a storage farm. It consists of 700 networked BMW i3 high-voltage batteries in which the electricity generated by the four wind turbines on the factory premises can be stored.
Locally emission-free, elegant and exclusive: The BMW i3s in the HomeRun Edition.
On the home stretch of its production run, the BMW i3 once again displays the elegant and extravagant side of its character, which has already been demonstrated several times in the form of limited special models. As the BMW i3s in the HomeRun Edition, it received a frozen paint job from BMW Individual for the first time. This premiere is associated with a maximum of exclusivity: only ten units of the BMW i3s in the HomeRun Edition were produced.
Two new BMW Individual paint finishes have been added to the range exclusively for the HomeRun Edition of the BMW i3s: Frozen Dark Gray and Frozen Red II. The HomeRun Edition also includes 20-inch light-alloy wheels in a double-spoke design, an electrically operated glass roof, sun protection glazing and adaptive LEDs -Headlights. The scope of equipment for the special models also includes the particularly high-quality interior design suite, which includes, among other things, the Vernasca Dark Truffle leather upholstery, a leather-covered instrument panel, a leather steering wheel with galvanized accents, a roof liner in Carum gray as well as ambient lighting and the welcome light.
There are also the options of heated seats, comfort access, alarm system, real-time traffic information, concierge service, park distance control and reversing camera. In addition, the comfort package and the Driving Assistant Plus, the navigation system Professional, telephony with wireless charging, the Harman Kardon hi-fi loudspeaker system and online entertainment with a music flat rate are also on board. The production of the ten special models was not only a final highlight for the employees involved at the BMW Group plant in Leipzig. The customers of the special models were able to witness the completion of the vehicles in the assembly hall.
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