The Truth About Cars » bmw i3 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » bmw i3 BMW Uses Olympics, Chicago Auto Show to Market i Series in U.S., Offers Loaners to Offset Range Anxiety Mon, 10 Feb 2014 12:30:12 +0000

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BMW has reportedly spent billions of dollars so far on developing various aspects of its carbon fiber intensive and electric powered i series of cars. The Bavarian automaker obviously wants to get that money back and more so it is now using high profile events to launch the i subbrand in North America, including buying ads during the opening ceremony and other broadcasts from the Winter Olympics currently being held in Sochi, Russia. The first of three ads that BMW will be running during the NBC network’s coverage of the Olympic games is called “Hello Future” and uses a 1964 recording of futurist Arthur C. Clarke to promote the $136,000 i8 hybrid super car. A second ad for the i8 is called “Sighting“, showing people’s reaction to first seeing the car. The more mass market $41,300 i3 is being sold with “SHHH“, depicting a teenager using his father’s silent i3 to sneak a nighttime joyride with a girl he’s trying to impress. He gets the girl but dad has been tracking the car with BMW’s i remote app.

The Winter Olympics have some of the biggest television audiences of the year. The Chicago Auto Show has the biggest attendance of any car show in North America. The i3 and i8 were also a major focus of BMW’s display and press conference at the Chicago show. Journalists clambered all over and inside the i3, complete with production stickers on its hemp paneled doors, that was on the show floor.

The i8 is going on sale later this year and while it isn’t quite in production like the i3 is, by now BMW has enough preproduction and validation models made that instead of the charcoal grey i8 that they showed in Detroit, at Chicago’s McCormick Place a gleaming pearl white i8 coupe was behind glass barriers next to the i3.

While the i8 is more of a plug-in hybrid, the i3, even with its gasoline-powered range extender, has still compelled BMW to come up with a rather novel solution to range anxiety. Buyers of the i3 can reserve the use of conventional gasoline or diesel-powered loaner cars should they need one for a long distance trip.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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A Look at BMW Carbon Fiber Production for the i3 Electric Car Thu, 17 Oct 2013 13:00:40 +0000

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One of our readers, Noble713, commenting on a news items about the BMW i3, asked if TTAC could provide more coverage on BMW’s carbon fiber productions methods. The i3 EV, and upcoming i8, are built upon CFRP structures. Weight is the enemy of electric vehicles. The more weight you can take out of the actual structure of the car, the more battery cells you can carry for more power and better range, hence BMW turning to carbon fiber. It turns out that BMW has released a series of videos (bilingual, wait for the English) on that very topic. Their CFRP production uses materials made by SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, a joint venture between the BMW and SGL groups and the effort spans the globe. SGL has expertise in carbon fiber and in 2011 BMW took a 15% stake in the company. Pure polyacrylonitrile fibers are made by Mitsubishi Rayon Co. in Japan and shipped to a state of the art SGL ACF factory in Moses Lake, Washington, where the PAN fibers are first oxidized and then baked into carbon. Wound on spools, the raw carbon fiber is shipped to a SGL ACF facility in Wackersdorf, Germany, were the carbon fibers are woven (actually sewn) into fabrics. The fabrics in turn go to BMW’s Landshut facility were they are laminated in the proper orientations, resins are added, patterns are cut and the finished parts are molded.

Click here to view the embedded video.

BMW has been publicizing how environmentally sensitive their CFRP manufacturing is, stressing how the Washington state facility is powered by renewable hydro power.

While carbon fiber is regarded as almost magical stuff because of its superior strength to weight ratio and the ability to orient the fabric so the resulting parts are stiff in some directions and flexible in other directions, it is still relatively costly to work with, compared to aluminum and steel. Like the CFRP shop at Toyota’s LFA works, BMW is using carbon fiber for the i3 and i8 not just because of those inherent characteristics but also so they can develop processes for the inexpensive mass production of CFRP parts.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Strong Demand Has BMW Considering Increase in i3 EV Production as Carbon Fiber Problems Delay Builds Tue, 15 Oct 2013 17:46:53 +0000 bmw-i3-production-starts-in-leipzig-photo-gallery_1

With demand for its i3 EV surpassing BMW’s expectations, the company’s chief financial officer, Friedrich Eichiner, told Bloomberg that the company is considering increasing production of the electric car. Though retail deliveries will not start until next month, over 8,000 orders have been booked so far. Originally, BMW hoped to sell about 10,000 i3s in 2014, but if demand stays high, the company “will adjust capacity according to demand,” Eichiner said at an Amsterdam press conference yesterday. “If demand holds, which is what it’s looking like, we will soon have to invest more.”

At a cost of 34,950 euros in Germany and $41,350 in the United States, the i3 goes on sale in it home market on November 16th, and sometime in the first half of 2014 in the American, Chinese and Japanese markets. The rollout of the new EV will continue as planned, Eichiner said, and that the launch will not be affected by normal rollout issues, a reference to a report in Germany over the weekend that BMW is having production issues with the EV’s advanced carbon fiber structure.

The Wirtschaftswoche publication reported a 10 day production halt for the i3 due to problems bonding the composite material. BMW has a dedicated plant in North America for producing carbon fiber components for the i3 and the upcoming i8 electric sports car.

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BMW i8 Revealed Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:00:55 +0000 bmw_i8_profile


Photos of the BMW i8 have appeared to emerge online prior to the hybrid sports car’s debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

The three cylinder BMW, which uses the unusual straight-triple along with an EV motor to provide an all-wheel drive pseudo-supercar experience, is set to be a flagship for the brand’s upcoming “i” series of green vehicles. BMW is claiming 357 horsepower via the hybrid powertrain, along with triple digit fuel economy and CO2 emissions that are roughly half those of a Toyota Prius.


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BMW Partnering With Kymco For i3 Range Extender Tue, 19 Mar 2013 17:58:13 +0000

The gasoline range-extender that will be optional in BMW’s i3 electric car will be built by Kymco, a Taiwanese firm that is best known for its scooters.

BMW and Kymco have worked together in the past, with Kymco building engines for the BMW G450X dirt bike. The two-cylinder motor was designed in Germany but built by Kymco’s Taiwan factory – and the i3 will likely have a similar arrangement, given the familiarity between the firms. The parallel-twin will apparently be given extensively changes for the i3, especially given that the requirements for a motorcycle engine and a range extender being run at a constant load are very different.

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BMW: The Ultimate Range Anxiety Cure? Mon, 25 Feb 2013 19:22:00 +0000

The Tesla vs. New York Times controversy has finally left the news cycle, forgotten in less time than it takes a Model S to juice up at a Supercharger station.  Meanwhile, BMW is ready to introduce its new range of “i” vehicles, which will conveniently dodge the whole question of range anxiety.

Select European outlets were invited for ride-alongs in BMW’s new i3 city car and i8 supercar. The impressions gleaned from ride-alongs are generally next to worthless, but the technology being used by BMW is worth examining. Rather than a pure EV, BMW will be adopting a three-pronged approach – a pure EV, a range extender and a plug-in hybrid.

The i3, a small hatchback meant for urban driving, will adopt the BMW ActiveE’s drivetrain, with an electric motor mounted in the rear, making 168 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Maximum range is said to be 140 miles, though 80-100 miles is a more realistic figure according to BMW. The i3 will be slightly bigger than a Mini Cooper, but will weigh just 2750 lbs and git 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. And unlike the Mini, it’s rear-drive.

But the most interesting aspect of the i3 is the range extender option. Unlike the plug-in hybrid option on the i8 supercar (which uses a three-cylinder turbocharged engine and an electric motor to power the wheels), the range extender in the i3 is strictly used to help maintain the battery’s charge if it falls below a predetermined level. It does not power the drive wheels under any circumstances. The 650cc parallel-twin could help increase the i3′s range to as much as 200 miles according to BMW, though specifics were scant.

As much as pure EV enthusiasts may scoff at the idea of any carbon-emitting technology sullying the zero-emissions dream, range extender technology could become prominent as a means of expanding the viability of electric vehicles. Small motorcycle engines (like the i3) and even rotary engines are being floated as possible solutions, while other more radical possibilities are being researched right now. Serenergy, a Danish firm, makes a fuel cell system based on methanol that could be adopted for this purpose. While methanol fell out of vogue in the 90s, the prospect of creating it from sources like solid waste has helped revive interest in methanol as a biofuel. On a broader scale, range extenders could alleviate one of the main psychological deterrents to EV adoption – the fear of running out of juice, rendering you totally stranded – by offering a reliable fail-safe in case of battery depletion. And if it’s a rear engine, rear drive compact, all the better for those of us who still enjoy the act of driving.

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BMW Planning “Neuer Elektro-Van” Prius V Competitor Fri, 27 Jan 2012 19:00:17 +0000

BMW is said to be planning a new minivan-esque competitor to the Toyota Prius V, dubbed the i5. We like the name given to it in the original Autobild story; Neuer Elektro-Van.

Given the gap between the diminutive i3 city car and the i8 sports car, the i5 seems like a logical bride between the two. Autobild’s rendering suggests that it won’t be a stodgy, van like vehicle, but a slightly enlarged 1-Series hatchback as far as looks go. The i5 should seat 5, and offer a 170 horsepower electric drivetrain. A 3-cylinder gasoline range extender is also said to be in the works.

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