German carmaker BMW celebrated a major milestone on Friday, with 150,000 BMW i3s made since its inception in 2013.
The all-electric BMW i3 has been produced at the carmaker’s Leipzig plant and plant manager Hans-Peter Kemser says the milestone is a success story for the pioneering electric car model.
“The production anniversary underlines the sustained success of our BMW i3, which we are very proud of at the Leipzig location,” Kemser said, it was reported by Germany’s Free Press (translated from German).
Despite its accumulating years on the market, the BMW i3 has remained a popular seller for the carmaker: In the first quarter of the current year, the i3 achieved an increase in sales of 16.2 percent to 9,227 units.
Since 2014, the model is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle in the so-called premium compact segment, according to BMW.
Consistent further development of the BMW E-Drive drive technology has likely contributed to the i3’s continuing success, with an increase in range, and battery size now double what it was when first released on the market – once kitted with a modest 22.6kWh of battery storage, the i3 now has 42.2kWh giving it a range of up to 260km in everyday operation.
While the electric motors and structural components for the i3 are produced at BMW’s Landshut plant, other components including the high-voltage accumulator, the e-transmission and the aluminum chassis are built at BMW’s Dingolfing factory in the German region of Bavaria.
The carmaker recently expanded its e-mobility operations at Dingolfing, creating an additional 2,000 jobs as it prepares for its next major electric offering – the futuristic and highly automated BMW iNext.
Of the expansion, Dingolfing director Ilka Horstmeier said that it will further concrete BMW’s position as a leader in electric and automated mobility.
“We want to, and will, emerge as a winner in our industry’s technological transformation. And we will continue to pioneer future topics such as e-mobility and autonomous driving,” she said in a statement.
In this context, the plant director announced that, “we will increase the number of Dingolfing-based jobs in the production of e-drive components several times over in the next few years – to a total of up to 2,000.”
The BMW Leipzig plant began series production in March 2005, and today more than over 1,000 vehicles a day roll off the production line including more than 180 BMW i3, BMW i3s and BMW i8 Coupé and BMW i8 Roadster – all vehicles with alternative drives and bodies made of innovative lightweight construction.
The total investment volume in Leipzig is currently more than two billion euros ($A3.2 billion), and employs a core workforce of more than 5,300 employees.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.