Thursday, August 30, 2012

BMW i3 Carbon Fiber Discussion

In the video above Dr Jörg Pohlman, managing director of  SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers speaks to Altair ProductDesign about the company's partnership with BMW. BMW partnered with SGL Group to form SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers to manufacturer the composite materials with would be used on the i3 and other future BMW vehicles.

The extensive use of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics is a cornerstone of BMW i's plans on producing low weight, efficient electric vehicles. However BMW clearly has plans to integrate more and more composites into the production of their gasoline and diesel vehicles also to improve efficiency. Because of their 49% stake in SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers Dr Pohlman believes BMW is leading the automotive industry in the use of composites and is in fact three to five years ahead of any of their competition in this area.

The CFRP passenger cell of an early version of the i3 undergoing internal crash test simulations

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BMW i3 Hot Weather Testing Video

Auto Motor Sport just put up a new video of an i3 caught doing hot weather testing in Spain. You can check it out here: BMW i3 Hot weather Testing video

Friday, August 3, 2012

BMW i3 Spotted Again During Hot Weather Testing

Autocar recently posted the latest pictures of an i3 during what is described as hot weather testing somewhere in Southern Europe. It would seem from the pictures the car had some kind of mechanical failure because they appear to be trying to recharge or 'jump' the 12 volt battery.

The car is still very well disguised and even the interior shots show they have everything covered to prevent anyone form getting real images of what they are working on, but a couple things do stand out. The steering column is long and really comes a long way from the dash, just like it does in the concept i3. The car also has basically the same display panels as the concept i3, with a small rectangular display on top of the steering column and a larger display in the center stack, however both had a fabric cover over them. After seeing changes in the body style in all the test cars for over a year, now every new set of spy photographs show the same thing, so I think it's safe to say they have the final production form decided. With the car 12 months away from it's rumored launch, I suspect they would have to have that set in stone by now so they can begin to get the production molds/stamps ready.

This is the first time I've seen a picture of the hood open. It shows what looks like a small storage area or 'frunk'. I've been told there will be some storage space under the front hood, but that it will be a small compartment. What I'm not sure about is whether the REx version will house the engine up there though, in which case the REx option would eliminate any storage space you may have in the frunk. It's also clear to see from the pictures the headlights are not production, and just there to make the test car street legal. The one thing I found particularly interesting in the photo I posted on the top was that it looks like the car may have a B-pillar. That is something I wasn't expecting as the concept didn't and the BMW program managers seemed to proudly talk about how the car was so easy to get in and out of without the need for a B-pillar. It's hard to tell and what I'm interpreting as the possible B-pillar may well be the weather stripping from the coach door seal so I'm going to hold off an saying the car does have a B-pillar until I get better photographic proof. You can click on the picture to enlarge it and tell me what you think.