BMW Group sheds some light on i3 production

The BMW composites-intensive, all-electric i3 will be 250 to 350 kg lighter than a conventional electric car, has a range of 150 km and can be produced in half the time of a conventional vehicle.

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The BMW Group (Munich, Germany) reported in its annual report, issued on March 19, more details about its forthcoming all-electric, composites-intensive i3 passgener vehicle, due out later this year.

Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG says the first pre­series BMW i3 came off the production lines in January 2013. This vehicle, which has been specifically designed to run with zero emissions for use in an urban environment, will come onto the market by the end of the year. "Several hundred advance orders have already been received for the BMW i3," adds Reithofer.

The BMW i3 is designed with a carbon ­fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, an aluminium chassis and, says BMW, sets new standards in the field of lightweight construction. BMW says the i3 will be 250 to 350 kg (551 to 771 lb) lighter than a conventional electric car and has an approximate range of 150 km/93 miles per charge, which — based on experience gleaned from the MINI E and BMW Active E test fleets —­ is sufficient in most circumstances. Customers can also opt to increase this capability with a so­-called Range Extender.

BMW also says production times are reduced significantly by employing unique production methods and a significantly lower number of assembly parts. The BMW i3 will require only half the time needed to produce a conventional vehicle.