BMW Group begins series production of the BMW i3 electric car in Leipzig
18 September 2013
The BMW Group has begun series production of the BMW i3 electric vehicle (earlier post) at its plant in Leipzig. The body structure of the BMW i3 consists entirely of lightweight and durable carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP); this is the first time the material has been used in automotive volume production. By industrializing the manufacturing process for CFRP, the BMW Group says it has become the first company worldwide to make its use in vehicle production economically viable.
|i3 body about to be mated to drivetrain. Click to enlarge.|
At the Leipzig plant alone, BMW invested some €400 million (US$534 million) 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 has invested a total of around €600 million (US$801 million) in the BMW i production network and generated over 1,500 jobs.
The first BMW i3 off the line has been recruited as the lead car for the International Berlin Marathon on 29 September 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. 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% less energy and 70% less water, and source the electric energy for production of the BMW i models CO2-free from the wind turbines at the plant—BMW AG Board Member for Production, Harald Krüger
The reduction in energy and water consumption can be attributed primarily to the elimination of the traditional painting process for steel and aluminium bodies.
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