Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BMW's Efficient Cars and Other Sustainability Efforts

The 2014 BMW i3 electric city car is part of the BMW iSeries. This series of electric cars has zero emissions and an affordable price tag. What sets the BMW iSeries apart from all other electric cars is their luxury and modernity as well as their technological sophistication thanks to a novel partnership with Apple.

The i3 is a four-door made out of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). About 25 percent of the plastics used inside the car are recycled, and the eucalyptus wood veneers used on the trim are "responsibly harvested." The door trims and instrument-panel surround also use fibers from the kenaf plant, an increasingly popular sustainable element in car interiors.

The grille has simple black blanking plates to reduce the aerodynamic drag. The 19-inch wheels are tall, but very thin, using specially developed 155/70 low-rolling-resistance tires. Overall, the i3 has roughly the same footprint as a 1-Series sedan.

The i3 is powered primarily by a 22-kilowatt-hour 450 pound lithium-ion battery pack built into its floorpan. It powers a 125-kilowatt (170-horsepower) electric motor, mounted under the high rear load deck, that produces 184 lb-ft of torque.

The optional Range Extender is a rear-mounted 34-horsepower, 650cc twin-cylinder gasoline engine which is only used to generate electricity. According to BMW, the battery range is 80 to 100 miles, and that the range extender will "roughly double" that. This gives the i3 with Range Extender an effective fuel efficiency of 33 to 42 MPG.

As for charging time, the standard onboard charger can operate at up to 7.4 kW, meaning a full recharge on a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station will take 3 hours or less (if the station is rated at 32 Amps or higher). The i3 will also offer an optional Combined Charging System (CCS) fast-charging coupler that gives the vehicle an 80 percent battery recharge in 20 minutes, and 100 percent in 30 minutes. However it is not capadible with CHAdeMO quick-charging standard. The 2014 BMW i3 will go on sale in the U.S. early in 2014.

As reported in Hybrid Cars, the BMW Group has also achieved its best ever result in the Global 500 ranking of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) published. Scoring 99 out of a possible 100 points, the company is Sector Leader, underscoring its leading position as the most sustainable automotive manufacturer in the world.

As explained by Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Norbert Reithofer:

“We are focused on climate protection at all our locations worldwide. We consistently promote environmental protection at our plants and have made major progress in recent years. Our success in the CDP Global 500 ranking confirms that we are on the right track.”

The BMW Group was recognized for its leadership in transparent reporting, carbon performance and action on climate protection.

BMW is also getting in on hydrogen fuel cells. To this end the group has signed an agreement with Toyota to develop a fuel cell system.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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