Today the BMW Group started regular production of its i3.
The BMW i3 production represents, amongst other, the first time that carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) has been used in automotive volume production. The i3’s body structure consists entirely of this lightweight and durable material, allowing the extra weight of the batteries for the electric drive system to be cancelled out.
By industrializing the manufacturing process for CFRP, BMW Group said it has become the first company worldwide to make its use in vehicle production economically viable.
At the Leipzig plant alone, some €400 million ($534 million) has been invested in new structures and machinery for the production of BMW i models and 800 new jobs have been created.
The production network for BMW i also sees key components for the BMW i3 manufactured at BMW Group plants and joint venture facilities at Moses Lake in the USA and Wackersdorf, Landshut and Dingolfing in Germany.
The company said it has invested a total of around €600 million in the BMW i production network and generated over 1,500 jobs.
Series production of the BMW i3 got under way today in the presence of the Minister President of the state of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, and BMW AG Board Member for Production, Harald Krüger.
The first BMW i3 off the line has been chosen as the lead car for the International Berlin Marathon on September 29 and was handed over to German marathon runner Jan Fitschen. Deliveries of the BMW i3 to customers in Germany and other European countries will begin in November, with the car’s launch in the USA, China and other markets to follow in early 2014.
“Today represents a milestone in our company’s development,” said BMW production chief Krüger. “We are making history with the BMW i3. Not only is our first electric car about to hit the road, we are also completely redefining sustainability with regard to personal mobility thanks to groundbreaking technologies and processes. We require 50 percent less energy and 70 percent less water, and source the electric energy for production of the BMW i models CO2-free from the wind turbines at the plant. This huge reduction in energy and water consumption can be attributed primarily to the elimination of the traditional painting process for steel and aluminium bodies.”