For BMW it is a model that marked a before and after. The little i3 ushered the brand into a new era. Its successor, now confirmed, will have a more conventional and neutral style. Time passes very quickly. You have to look back to discover the origin of electrification at BMW. The year was 2013 and, at that time, the world had barely heard of electric cars. Tesla was already beginning to emerge while the rest of the industry ignored it and maintained its thermal commitment. Only a small group of manufacturers opted for a technology that today is our daily bread. In Germany, in the Munich area, a well-known brand dared to take the step with a special car. BMW gave birth to the i3, its first 100% electric model. Many accused it of not being a BMW, but it soon proved that it was. After having ended its commercial life, we now know that it will return, but it has changed.
We cannot compare the year 2013 with 2023. Today electric cars are common, common, and increasingly numerous. A decade ago they were the weirdos. Those cars were designed to attract the attention of a few who already knew at that time that electrification was the future of the industry. You only have to take a look at the electric cars of that time to realize that the designs were, for the most part, strange and daring. Tesla was one of the first to break that unwritten rule with the launch of the Model S. A normal-looking sedan that marked a turning point. An electric car doesn’t have to be rare to succeed.
Neue Klasse platform and a completely different style
At BMW they opted to give the i3 a very different appearance from the rest of the range. That made a large number of the brand’s followers openly criticize it for its design and concept, but few faults could be placed in terms of dynamics and efficiency. All the knowledge learned during the life of the first i3 is used today to produce the latest generation of electric cars. Despite having sold more than 250,000 units in its 10 years of life, in the middle of last year, the BMW i3 ceased its commercial life without leaving, at that time, a substitute. Currently, the Germans sell an i3, but only in China and under the body of a BMW 3 Series.
In 2025 we will have an i3 on the global market again, but, as in China, it will be integrated into the family of the average sedan. The new i3 will be the 100% electric version of the 3 Series. We know many things about it, such as that it will be based on BMW’s Neue Klasse platform. An electrical superstructure that will power all the models in the house, from the smallest to the largest. So what about the i3 we have known so far? Well now we know that BMW will bring it back, but it will not be called i3 nor will it have its bizarre shapes, as the head of development, Frank Weber, has acknowledged to Automotive News Europe.
The transformation will be radical. Regarding the design, Weber himself has made his intentions very clear based on experience, “many people liked it, but, in the eyes of others, the i3 was not a real BMW. It was a bit strange inside. the gamut, so to speak. We won’t repeat it this way .” He also added, “BMW needs to bring a compact and affordable car to market. We attach great importance to offering customers the best possible access to the brand.”
From these words, we draw two conclusions. The old i3 will be transformed into a compact entry-level electric car. At the moment, there has been no talk of specifications or deadlines, but it should see the light before the end of this decade. It may end up being the BMW i1. The current German compact is not having the commercial success that was expected. Sales are not taking off and many members of the house are already beginning to propose a change for him. It will use the Neue Klasse architecture in its smallest version. Despite this, it will offer high levels of performance and efficiency as well as, of course, an appearance much more in line with the rest of the family.