BMW unveiled at the IAA 2011 the BMW i3 and BMW i8 concept cars. The BMW i3 Concept is powered by a fully-electric drive and suited for urban areas. The BMW i8 Concept is a plug-in hybrid model. Combining an electric drive and a combustion engine, it guarantees both maximum efficiency and maximum dynamics. The body for the i3 and i8 is truly revolutionary—both for the architecture as well as the material used. The chassis is made mainly from aluminum, while the passenger cabin is made from carbon fiber. By using carbon fiber, BMW has resolved the contradiction that an electric car has to weigh more because of heavy batteries. The carbon fiber is extremely light in addition to being very strong and stiff.
BMW founded a joint venture with our partners SGL Group to produce the amount of carbon fiber the German premium car maker needs. At the start of September, the SGL plant in Moses Lake, USA officially started carbon fiber production. One of the reasons BMW chose this location is because the plant uses only hydroelectric power. This is a perfect example of a sustainable value chain.
The BMW i3 is planned to be launched in late 2013. Shortly after, the BMW i8 will hit the streets. The BMW i8 clearly looks very futuristic. I am actually excited that BMW is already bringing this car design to the market in the next 2-3 years. I just hope they do not water it down. This often times happens with cool concept cars when the finally hit production.
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