Carbon Fiber to Lower BMW i3 Repair, Insurance Costs
December 12, 2013 2:12 PM
CFRP will also make the BMW i3 more lightweight with extra space
will have lower repair and insurance costs thanks to the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).
According to a new report from
, the BMW i3's use of CFRP will make repairs easier because most bumps at a traffic light or a parking lot will only damage exterior plastic parts, which are easily replaced. But for bigger collisions that actually do affect the carbon fiber, the damage stays local to that one spot.
"When we evaluated carbon fiber, we started doing the safety, crash and repair
concepts right from the beginning
because just deciding on carbon fiber and then, when we're done, looking at [the details] would be a huge risk," said Manuel Sattig, communications manager for BMW i.
"Carbon fiber is, of course, a new material. Our dealers need to be trained for that specific repair system. But, if you look at the i3, if the car has a small bit of damage, someone hits you at a traffic light or bumps into you in a parking garage, you don't hit carbon fiber, you mostly damage the exterior plastic parts. They can very easily be replaced because you click out the damaged part and replace it with a new one. If you have a stronger accident, then, of course, carbon fiber will be damaged. The interesting thing is that carbon fiber is not deforming, so the damage only happens locally and it breaks only at that specific area."
Sattig noted that BMW has already talked the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the insurance industry about the use of the new material, and they've decided to go with a "very low" insurance system.
CFRP will also make the BMW i3 more lightweight with extra space.
BMW officially announced the all-electric i3 back in July, giving the new vehicle a price tag of $41,350 USD.
The i3 will feature a 22-kilowatt, 450-pound lithium ion battery, which will provide power to a rear-mounted electric motor. The i3 packs 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, allowing the single-gear i3 to accelerate from 0-30 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and 0-60 mph in about 7.0 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 93 MPH.
For those concerned about range, the i3 has an electric range of 80-100 miles, and the battery can be charged with a standard system in about three hours.
In October, it was reported that BMW may
boost production of the i3
EV due to early demand. At that time, the automaker said customers reserved over 8,000 i3s ahead of the official launch in Europe.
BMW has plans to sell 10,000 i3 units next year and previously announced that it would adjust build capacity according to market demand.
The i3 will go on sale in the U.S. during the second quarter of 2014.
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