Overview of BMW i3 LifeDrive tech shows how the skateboard has evolved

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Meet German automaker BMW's vision of the future: LifeDrive.

LifeDrive is the heart and soul of the electric BMW i3, but it's more than just that. LifeDrive is a 21st century return of the body-on-frame design that consists of two distinct components: the Life module and the Drive structure. These components combine to form a complete vehicle, but, a look at the individual Life and Drive elements reveals so much more.

The Life module, a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) structure that's both incredibly strong and remarkably light, is the variable component of LifeDrive and can be altered as needed. For example, say buyers demand an SUV-like version of the i3. Well, BMW would only need to redesign the Life module to accommodate buyers' tastes. Yes, Life must still fit Drive, but there's wiggle room for several variations.

What's Drive? Drive is the aluminum structure that houses the vehicle's powertrain, rolling gear, suspension components, battery pack and more. Think of Drive as a 21st century evolution of the skateboard and Life as little more than the glitzy, attention-grabbing exterior that completes the vehicular package. Knowing this is how BMW is building its next-generation of vehicles shows us that the BMW i3 could morph into an SUV-ish electric, a stylish extended-range coupe or even a Honda CR-Z-like two-seat hatchback.

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