BMW i is revolutionising automotive engineering with the first series-produced passenger cells made of carbon, components from BMW EfficientDynamics lightweight construction technology. Carbon is around 50 % lighter than steel and around 30 % lighter than aluminium, allowing BMW i to set new standards in lightweight construction while also completely offsetting the additional weight resulting from the high-voltage lithium-ion battery. At the same time, carbon is a high-tensile material that can be used in a versatile manner for construction purposes and increases the safety of all vehicle occupants.
The manufacture of the BMW i3 is the first time that the high-tech material carbon has ever been used for the large-scale series production of a vehicle. The use of carbon was limited for a long time as it had to be manually produced. However, after ten years of intensive research and development, the BMW Group now collaborates with SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers to produce the carbon fibres and carbon fibre plates themselves, and has now made large-scale series production in automotive engineering possible.
LIFE DRIVE ARCHITECTURE.
BMW LifeDrive is the first vehicle architecture to be created especially for electric cars. It is made up of two separate units: the Life module, the passenger cell made of carbon, and the Drive module with suspension and drive components and the high-voltage battery. The advantage? By securely housing all drive components in the lower module, there is no tunnel running through the middle of the car, thus leaving more room for passengers. The LifeDrive architecture not only compensates for the extra weight of the battery, it also lowers the car’s centre of gravity, giving every BMW i the kind of agility you've grown to expect from BMW.
The upper module consists of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), also called CFK or simply carbon. While its high strength offers passengers the best possible protection in the event of an accident, it is also light enough to offset the additional weight of the high-voltage battery. This results in not only greater safety and a sense of generous spaciousness, but also a reduction in weight, making it an even more dynamic vehicle to drive.
The lower module, a 100 % aluminium construction, provides space for the high-voltage battery, and also houses the suspension system, structural and crash components, and the electric drive train. It protects the battery from external influences, and deep central positioning of the components results in a low centre of gravity and optimal distribution – ensuring unparalleled agility and safety.
BMW i applies a consistent design philosophy combining innovative sustainability with premium quality in all BMW i models. For example, the black belt that runs from the bonnet over the roof to the rear, the typical BMW i streamflow design, the aero-flaps and characteristic features like the U-shaped LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights. Sustainably produced, light materials are also a defining feature of the interior.
The innovative BMW eDrive technology is the result of many years of BMW EfficientDynamics development work. Three key features deliver an unequalled emission-free driving experience: the entire torque of the extremely agile electric motor is available virtually from a standing start, and uninterrupted acceleration is maintained up to the maximum speed. Innovative battery technology combines the ultra-powerful high-voltage battery with a cooling system that keeps the battery at the ideal operating temperature and boosts its performance and lifetime.
The intelligent energy management system coordinates optimal interaction between the electric motor and the high-voltage battery with the goal of maximum performance with minimum consumption. Regenerative braking mediated by one-pedal driving extends the car's range. Together with the ECO PRO modes, the push of a button is all it takes to gear all car systems towards maximum efficiency – and utilise energy reserves intelligently.
BMW EFFICIENT DYNAMICS.
BMW EfficientDynamics ensures a marked reduction in consumption and emissions while, at the same time, increasing performance and driving pleasure. Thanks to BMW eDrive, efficient motor and drive technologies as well as intelligent lightweight construction, sustainable mobility is already standard in every BMW – and complemented by many innovative developments, e.g. in aerodynamics. BMW i is also developing new ideas in electromobility on the basis of existing technologies.
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