Headline, May05, 2014



CONCEPT i3 '''

IN THE SPRING OF 2008, after over  9 months of brain wrecking efforts,  the  thinkers came up with a new direction:

BMW would follow two different paths: one evolutionary, with efficient combustion engines and the technologies that surround them  -and the other revolutionary, with electric powertrains, recyclable materials, and software driven mobility services.

With thinking and strategy inplace,  -for the third phase of the project i,  BMW unveiled the concept  i3  at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. But developing it sent BMW into uncharted territory.

For the carbon-fiber body, it formed a joint venture with a U.S. company, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibres, and built a $100 million manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, Wash., to take advantage of hydropower from the nearby Grand Coulee Dam  -sustainable power for a sustainable car.

Raw material for the carbon fiber is shipped from Japan to Moses Lake, then sent to component makers in Wackersdorf and Landshut,  Germany,  and then on to Leipzig for final assembly.

BMW figures the lifetime global warming impact of the electric  i3  is a third less than that of a similar-size diesel hatchback because of the use of carbon fiber for the body, recycled aluminium in the chassis, and interior panels and seats made out of hemp fibers, recycled water bottles and the likes.

The Leipzig plant, which was expanded two years ago to accommodate the i3, runs on  100%  renewable energy. Although the i3's electric powertrain weighs 440 pounds more than a similar combustion setup, the car is  550 pounds lighter, thanks to its aluminium chassis and carbon fiber body.

The car needs eight seconds to get to 62mph   -tortoise time for a BMW  -but that didn't stop Ludwig Willisch president of BMW North America, from exclaiming after a drive, ''It looks great and goes like hell. It is a true BMW.'' 

But the real innovation can be found in the passenger compartment. BMW calls i3 the world's first fully networked electric vehicle:

The driver will be able to summon a mobile charging truck if his battery runs out. He will have smartphone apps to find charging spots, and the ability to swap into a gas-powered car.

Operation of the navigation system, as well as the transfer of information among the vehicle, the outside world, and the driver's smartphone, has been tailored for city driving.

Considering the inability of Nissan and others to profit from  electric vehicles, BMW's ability to sell them at premium prices is hardly a given. And BMW can afford to be very patient:

Since 47% of its is owned by  Munich's  Quandt  family, BMW essentially operates like a private company. When asked how soon BMW could expect a payoff  from its  i-investments, the answer is:

''If everything goes according to plan, we will earn a reasonable margin per vehicle and make money on every car.'' And then, just to make sure that there was no misunderstanding,  Norbert Reithofer adds, '' We don't build vehicles that are not profitable.''

A BMW supplier was overheard one day complaining that the company standards make it a very difficult customer. ''Every time we get to perfect, they change perfect.'' he said. The same might be said of BMW's long-term strategy.

i3 is all about practicality and convenience. i3  But with this brilliance BMW has also taken on the additional challenge of creating the ultimate sustainable and plugged in urban vehicle for the 21st century.

It is a big challenge for a small company, but then that is what makes BMW...........BMW.

With colourful  dedication to Student Ali Aizaz Zahid,  -the Samurai, and my real professor on car tutorials. Many thanks, good lad!

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Germany. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''  Built For Brilliance  '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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