BMW& s new i3 electric carbon car The Operations Room

23 Фев 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи BMW& s new i3 electric carbon car The Operations Room отключены
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The Operations Room

BMW s new i3 electric carbon car

Three weeks ago, I had the pleasure to visit one branch of my extended family and BMW Welt (BMW World), the multi-functional customer experience and exhibition facility of the BMW AG, located in Munich, Germany. Supposedly, BMW Welt is the second most popular tourist destination around Munich, after Neuschwanstein Castle which inspired Disneylands Sleeping Beauty Castle. If you like architecture or cars, you should visit BMW Welt.

OK, but this is the Operations Room, so what else is worth knowing? It turns out that this month, BMW starts selling in Germany its long-awaited i3 (the USA will have to wait until 2014) and here s some personal pictures to highlight three aspects:

While instantly recognizable with the signature kidney. the i3 brings three innovations:

The i3 is an electric car with electric motor in the rear. (My cousin Zoe is charging!)

The i3 is an an electric car with electric motor in the rear. If you look carefully at the picture (and if you are familiar with high-end sports equipment like tennis rackets and race bicycles), you will notice the bigger innovation: this is the first carbon-fiber car that is series-produced. (Can t say mass produced! ) Finally, after airplanes like the Boeing 787, carbon fiber is coming to automobiles!

Carbon fiber is lighter and stronger than aluminum and steel, but more expensive. To bring cost down, BMW employs a global supply chain that gets raw material from a joint venture in Japan, produces carbon fibers in Moses Lake, WA, at another JV (SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers), which then are transported to Germany for carbon fibre plate forming and finally to the new assembly plant in Leibzig:

The factory takes a polyacrylonitrile (PAN) precursor created in Otake, Japan, by another JV involving Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) and SGL Group. Moses Lake turns the polyacrylic fibers into carbon fibers. The PAN filaments are baked at 450 degrees, turning golden brown then black.

Then they’re carbonized in two more oven steps, at 1,300 degrees and 2,550 degrees. Each step is controlled to prevent the filaments from catching fire or burning; inert nitrogen gas is injected into the carbonization ovens.


The conversion into carbon fibers is energy intensive and, supposedly, Moses Lake has hydro electricity at 1/8th the price of electricity in Germany. This also allows the company to market this as a sustainable car

The weight savings of carbon fiber were necessary to make up for the increased weight of the massive battery while retaining the sportiness of a BMW. This brings us to the last picture that is a beautiful example of modular design: (1) a standard platform with aluminum chassis and the battery and electric motor, and (2) the cabin in carbon fiber that can be customized.

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