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.