The BMW Group has commenced production of the BMW i3 premium electric vehicle. A vehicle that boasts of lower fuel consumption and emissions, the BMW i3 is the result of careful employment of select materials and production processes. The BMW i3 also boasts of being the first vehicle to use carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in volume production.
This extremely lightweight and durable material that makes up the BMW i3’s body structure offset the extra weight brought by the batteries for the electric drive system. By industrializing the manufacturing process for CFRP, the BMW Group managed to become the first global carmaker to make its use in vehicle production economically viable.
BMW invested around EUR400 million at its Leipzig plant to install new structures and machinery for the output of BMW i models, with 800 new jobs created. BMW also produces key components for the BMW i3 at BMW Group sites and joint venture facilities at Moses Lake in the USA and Wackersdorf, Landshut and Dingolfing in Germany.
BMW Group has made EUR600 million in total investments for the BMW i production network and has created over 1,500 jobs. The start of series production of the BMW i3 was graced by the Stanislaw Tillich, Minister President of the state of Saxony; Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig; and Harald Krüger, BMW AG Board Member for Production.
The first BMW i3 has been tapped as the lead car for the International Berlin Marathon on September 29, 2013, and was handed over to German marathon runner Jan Fitschen. Deliveries of the BMW i3 to customers in Germany and other European countries will commence in November 2013. BMW will launch the BMW i3 in the United States, China and other countries in early 2014.
The LifeDrive construction and BMW eDrive drive innovation allow an extraordinary amount of freedom in designing. Undeniably, the look of the BMW i3 is as unforgettable as the sensation of freedom and on-board drive experience.
A body that measures 3,999 mm long, 1,775 mm wide, and 1,578 mm high provides the BMW i3 with distinct dimensions with vitality and solidity that emphasises the vehicle's dexterity when performing in the city. The short overhangs of the BMW i3 also clearly point to its agile drive traits. Broad glass shapes give the i3 a fascinating lightness and, along with its noticeable carbon shapes, allow a look at the vehicle's low-weight engineering.
The application of the light but very sturdy rigid CFRP material in constructing the passenger area lets it to do away with B-pillars, creating very easy access to the two rows of seating.
Among the hallmark traits of BMW i models is the "black belt" that goes from the hood to over the roof and into the back of the automobile. Another item of the individual BMW i design idiom is the flowing stream that sweeps along the sides, allowing for larger side windows at the back and so increases the substantial feeling of room inside the vehicle.
The design of the front of the BMW i3 is set by an extremely formed apron, by the distinct expression of the kidney grille as an encapsulated component, and by headlamps surrounded with U-shaped LEDs. The similar U-shaped LEDs in the rear are blended as "floating" parts into the completely glazed large tailgate.