What you see above is the carbon fiber frame that underpins the BMW i3. This lightweight material will allow the plug-in vehicle to set itself apart from the competition in a lot of ways (weight, most importantly, but also space and rigidity), but what we didn’t expect was that the newfangled bits will help keep repair and insurance costs down. It may sound counterintuitive, but that’s what Manuel Sattig, the communications manager for BMW i, told AutoblogGreen recently. It does make sense but, like so much else in this new, plug-in vehicle universe, it requires a new way of thinking.
There is a plan to bring carbon fiber to the rest of the BMW fleet.
When BMW started Project i in 2007, the company began with a figurative plain sheet of paper. There were some rules, of course. “Every idea, every technology, every revolution or new material that we came up with for BMW i eventually had to enable the rest of the BMW Group,” Sattig said. “Which means, yes, there is a plan to bring carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) to the rest of our fleet.” The extent to which BMW will integrate carbon fiber into other model ranges is still being evaluated, and Sattig said BMW is first and foremost focused on launching the i3 and i8 and figuring out how, exactly, carbon fiber works in a series production vehicle. Still, dreams are big, and Sattig called CFRP, “the lightweight material of the future for the entire company.”
Original Article: BMW i3 EV will have lower insurance, repair costs thanks to carbon fiber