The all-electric BMW i3. Photo courtesy BMW.
BMW has begun production of its i3 electric vehicle at its plant in Leipzig, Germany, and stated that the official launch of the vehicle in the U.S. will begin in early 2014. The BMW Group is using a number of new technologies and related production methods for this vehicle, including the use of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and thermoplastic for the vehicle’s exterior.
The automaker is also focusing on sustainability for its i3, using 50-percent less energy and 70-percent less water during production. In addition, electricity used for production of BMW i models comes from wind turbines at the plant. This reduction in energy and water use comes primarily from eliminating the traditional painting process used for steel and aluminum bodies, according to the automaker.