The last i8 to be made left the Leipzig BMW plant on Thursday. Production of the PHEV was actually supposed to end in mid-April. But since the factory was shut down because of the coronavirus crisis, the end of production was postponed to June.
Exactly 20,448 units of the i8 have left the plant since production started six years ago. The last unit was an i8 Roadster in ‘Portimao Blue’ and is going to a customer in Germany, as BMW wrote in a press release.
At its premiere in 2014, the i8 was the first plug-in hybrid in the entire BMW Group. With a six-figure basic price and its elaborate carbon body, the hybrid sports car never made it out of its niche. According to Hans-Peter Kemser, head of the BMW plant in Leipzig, the i8 “embodies the departure into electric mobility like no other car”. The model has laid the foundation for the now wide range of plug-in hybrid models.
The purely electric BMW i3, which is also produced in Leipzig, currently produces 116 units per day in one shift. According to plant manager Hans-Peter Kemser, the production of the i3 could be extended to two shifts and thus increased to 250 units per day if the increased e-car premium in Germany boosts demand.
The i8 will not have a direct successor. In the meantime, there had been speculation that the Vision M Next concept car presented in 2019 could be built in series. But the hybrid sports car (this time with a four-cylinder petrol engine instead of the three-cylinder in the i8) did not get beyond the planning stage: according to media reports, the BMW board of directors is said to have decided against the 441 kW sports car, also against the background of the Corona crisis this would have been mainly been due to “costs and the volume”.
automobilwoche.de (in German)