Leipzig, Germany -- September 20, 2013 -- The BMW Group made history this week with the start of series production of the BMW i3, as it marks the first carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) has been used in automotive volume production. The body structure of the BMW i3 consists entirely of this extremely lightweight and durable material.
According to BMW Group, the BMW i3 is the worldâ€™s first premium electric vehicle to be purpose-designed for this form of drive system, and is the result of an all-encompassing development approach targeted at reducing fuel consumption and emissions in urban areas. Exceptionally high standards of sustainability and resource efficiency have also been achieved in the selection of materials and production processes employed. The use of CFRP has allowed BMW to cancel out the extra weight of the vehicleâ€™s batteries. The BMW Group has become the first company worldwide to make its use in vehicle production economically viable by industrializing the manufacturing process for CFRP.
Deliveries of the BMW i3 to customers in Germany and other European countries will begin in November, with the carâ€™s launch in the USA, China and other markets to follow in early 2014.
â€œToday represents a milestone in our companyâ€™s development,â€ said BMW production chief KrÃ¼ger. â€œWe are making history with the BMW i3. Not only is our first electric car about to hit the road, we are also completely redefining sustainability with regard to personal mobility thanks to groundbreaking technologies and processes â€¦ we require 50 percent less energy and 70 percent less water, and source the electric energy for production of the BMW i models CO2-free from the wind turbines at the plant.â€
This huge reduction in energy and water consumption can be attributed primarily to the elimination of the traditional painting process for steel and aluminum bodies.