August 23, 2011

NO ONE GOES THERE ANYMORE, IT'S TOO CROWDED:

BMW Shifts Into Electric Gear: Electric vehicles are breaking into the luxury market. (David Zax 08/08/2011, Technology Review)

One thing that's getting people particularly emotional about these cars is their novel frames, which are made of carbon-fiber with an aluminum underbody. These materials make the cars considerably lighter, which is essential in an EV, since the electric drive system (made up of the battery, motors, and electronics) is considerably heavier than the drivetrain of a typical gasoline-fueled car.

According to Automobile Magazine, the electric-drive system can be as much as 440 pounds heavier. But by using the carbon-fiber frame, the BMW team trimmed over 550 pounds, more than compensating for the increased battery weight. Draeger called this a "revolution in automotive design," which I suppose he would, but he also had a point, seeing as this was, as he said, "the first volume-produced car featuring bodywork largely made of carbon."

The i3 goes from 0 to 60 mph in about eight seconds; the i8 does the same sprint in about five. The sports car can hit a top speed of about 135 mph, and surely would be capable of going faster, but an electronic governing system prevents it from doing so. For the i3 buyer, a specification other than top speed is more important: the battery achieves an 80 percent charge in only one hour. To further clean up the sub-brand and its supply chain, BMW announced that its plants would rely on renewable resources: hydroelectric power at the Moses Lake, Washington, plant that prepares the carbon fiber, and a windmill at the Leipzig, Germany, plant where assembly will take place.


Posted by at August 23, 2011 5:15 AM
  

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