Home Robotics The EV3 Robot Retires

The EV3 Robot Retires

by Peggy Reimers
Student working with a red tray from the EV3 robotics set.

LEGO Education has announced the retirement plans for the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Education version robotics system. The third generation of LEGO robotics (#45544) will be officially retired on June 31, 2021.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home/Retail Edition set (LEGO #31313) retirement was announced in the later part of 2020.

Time line with the 4 LEGO systems: RCX, NXT, EV3 and SPIKE Prime.
Timeline created in Google Slides by author.

The LEGO Bots History

I’ve been around the block for the four iterations of LEGO robotics. I’m not as old as the LEGO brick (I wasn’t even born when it came out in 1958), but I did teach with the very first LEGO MINDSTORMS system, the RCX back in the day. The first generation of LEGO MINDSTORMS was born in 1998. July 2006 brought the second generation on board with the NXT. The EV3 (the third evolution of LEGO robots) became available in September of 2013. And, believe it or not, SPIKE Prime has been roaming around mats since January of 2020. So if you do the math, LEGO releases a robotics system approximately every seven years. SPIKE Prime was right on target.

It’s Still a Good Robot

I taught for 24 years, so I remember dollars for robots are tight. I know it is disheartening that you have invested in a system and now something new has come along. Please remember that the EV3 is a very viable robot and you can still get a bunch of mileage out of your EV3 sets. The Classroom app based on Scratch 3.0 was just released for all platforms this year; so we have really new software that supports the EV3. If your EV3 equipment is fairly new, I would buy a couple more bricks or a couple more batteries. If your equipment is ready for a refresh, now is the time to invest in the SPIKE Prime.

Questions and Answers

Will TCEA accept the EV3 in future robotics contests? Yes, most certainly.

How long will LEGO Education support updates to the current EV3 programming apps? June 2023

How long can one expect to receive technical support on EV3 robots? June 2023 (If LEGO support follows their past history, the company will support EV3 longer than just the two years as they did with the NXT.)

Can I purchase EV3 core sets now? Yes, sales will continue in the USA  until June 30, 2021,  depending on stock availability. My two cents: if you are going to buy more sets, I would not wait much longer to make your purchases. 

Can I purchase EV3 motors, sensors, and Technic Building Elements? LEGO will fulfill tech spare parts until 2023.

What’s next for LEGO robotics? According to LEGO Education, “SPIKE Prime is the future and foundation of the LEGO Education portfolio for secondary schools.”

Please note the answers I have provided were found on the LEGO® Education Community I belong to for US Master Educators. These answers were provided the first of February 2021, but might change as the days roll by.  If you are looking for a comparison between EV3 and SPIKE Prime, please check out this blog.

As always, go, bot, go!

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