i3 Demonstrates Leadership in Sustainability

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With the production of the BMW i3, BMW is demonstrating why they are one of the top manufacturers in sustainability. The i3 is their first mass-produced electric car, and while it may seem like a somewhat late entrance into the electric vehicle market, compared to other manufacturers, BMW has taken their time to ensure they do it right.

To start with, BMW has pursued a goal to rethink and redesign an electric transport that’s smart and innovative, not just in the vehicle itself, but in the way it’s produced. For raw materials, the company uses recycled materials or materials produced with renewable energy for aluminum and plastic elements. For carbon fiber elements, they use components manufactured with hydro power.

Both the i3 and the i3 are produced in BMW’s Leipzig plant, which uses 100% renewable energy. This plant uses more natural lighting, and has eliminated the need for a steel press in order to reduce sound levels.

Beyond the assembly line, the i3 continues to make strides in reducing its environmental impact. BMW hasn’t just replaced a combustion engine with an electric motor; there’s more to the i3 than that. Its lightweight design aids in its range and performance.

Part of the i3’s success is BMW’s long history in electric vehicle development. Since 1969, when BMW introduced the electric 1602 at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, the German automotive company has been actively developing electric technology in pursuit of their “electro-mobility concept.”

Recently, BMW has conducted many field tests of different iterations of EV models in order to ensure they get it right. In the development of the ActiveE, the company studied the performance of their MINI E, a 100 percent electric two-seater. During the field tests, the studied multiple aspects of the performance, including the impact of the range of the car, how people behave when they drive it, and how they use the EV infrastructure to recharge their vehicle. The company then took the information ascertained from those tests and applied it to the i3.

The BMW i3 is due for release in 2013. BMW is also developed a plug-in hybrid, the i8, which is scheduled for release in 2014.

Source: TriplePundit

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Who Is Using Solar Panels to Help Power Facility?

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Last week, Honda announced that it is now powering the Honda Performance Development Facility using newly installed solar cells. As the largest commercial solar-cell demonstration in the US, the project is one of Honda’s largest to date, and will help to reduce CO2 emissions by 64 metric tons per year.

Honda Performance Development is Honda’s racing development and sales organization, and helps develop engine technology for various racing programs, like the IZOD IndyCar series, American Le Mans series, the Le Mans Series in Europe, etc. HPD recently started pursuing “green racing” initiations, including the development of hybrid and alternative-fuel race vehicles.

The solar cell array is comprised of eight hundred 100-kilowatt cells, and the panels are made of a thin film made of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS). They are installed on the roof, the carport and the canopy of the loading dock, and will have the ability to follow the path of the sun.

The CIGS film in use is described as “next-generation,” introduces significant improvements to solar cell technology, and is one of the most efficient CIGS-based thin-film solar cell systems in the world. The film is said to have a conversion efficiency that exceeds 13%. It requires less raw material and 40% less energy to create and is easier to install. The technology is already used in Japan in fifteen facilities, and has a total output of 2.5 megawatts.

Besides helping to provide energy for the building, the installation also demonstrates the capabilities of the panels themselves, which were developed by Honda Soltec Co., Ltd. Honda will monitor their energy output using an internet-based monitoring system, and test the capabilities of the solar cells for commercial use.

It’s no surprise that Honda is implementing solar technology at one of its facilities. Honda has consistently outperformed other manufacturers with its serious pursuit of environmental friendly technology. Another current green project receiving attention recently is the Civic Natural Gas. Honda was also the first manufacturer in the US to introduce a hybrid vehicle. Last September, it was in the news for its 11th LEED-Certified green building in North America, and has made the list of top greenest vehicles for the past eleven years.

Source: MSN Money

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