This is a BMW i3, one of the first dedicated electric cars from a mainstream manufacturer, and one of the weirdest too.
Launched in 2013 the i3 brought the arrival of BMW’s ‘i’ sub-brand (‘i’ because German car brands have zero imagination and if in doubt, stick an ‘i’ in front of it), and it was quite unlike any of BMW’s other products. A suicide-doored B-Seg MPV-style hatchback, the i3 was powered by either an electric motor, or an electric motor backed up by a motorcycle engine generator.
Despite this oddity the i3 was mostly well received, and sales have climbed every year since launch as electrification has become increasingly accepted, although they still haven’t topped more than 40,000 annually. However the i3’s strangeness – and its moderate success – mean there will be no replacement.
These days you don’t need an electric car to be deliberately weird; a regular car that happens to be electric is the order of the day, thus there is no place in BMW’s line-up for a suicide-doored B-Seg MPV-style hatchback.
Nor is there a place for an EV sub-brand like ‘i’, as the UK and many other European countries implement new car combustion-engine bans from as little as four years’ time. By then, if you’re not selling EVs, you’re not selling anything. Which also means of course, that technically the electric i3 with its little range-extending petrol-powered motorcycle engine, will also be banned.
Still, it was fun while it lasted, and Rolands Kirpis has paid tribute to BMW’s first EV with this rather excellent Model Team recreation of the i3, complete with a brilliantly detailed interior, opening hatchback, front trunk, and even the weird suicide doors too.
There’s much more for the model to see at Rolands’ ‘BMW i3’ album, where several top quality images are available to view. Click the link above to take a look at BMW’s past vision of an electrified future.