The Ultimate Driving Machine, or at least one of them, may also be the Ultimate Engineering Success. Consultant Munro & Associates, which specializes in automotive tear-down analysis, pretty much said as much when taking an under-the-skin look at the BMW i3 plug-in. In short, the firm liked what it saw.
Presenting at Detroit's Plastic's in Automotive conference this week, Munro CEO Sandy Munro called BMW's first mast-produced plug-in model the most revolutionary car "since Henry Ford's Model T." The car earned big points for its substantial uses of materials that are both lightweight (key for any plug-in's range) and recyclable.
BMW has touted these advantages all along. In late 2013, the German automaker went as far as saying its use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) would reduce customer costs related to both repair and insurance.
The i3 went on sale in the US last May and, by the end of the year, moved more than 6,000 units here. It sold almost 17,800 The i3 last November also was named the Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, beating out models such as the compressed-natural-gas-powered Chevrolet Impala B-Fuel and the Audi A3 TDI diesel.
Munro made news earlier this week when it offered a free i3 for anyone who bought the master- or OEM-level version of the report, though the report isn't cheap and that offered disappeared once Munro made his presentation. Check out Munro & Associates' press release below.
Munro Discusses Groundbreaking Technology Finds from BMW i3 Teardown at Plastics in Automotive Conference; Offers New BMW i3 for Purchasers of Master-level Report
DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During today's Plastics in Automotive Conference in Detroit, Sandy Munro, CEO of Munro & Associates, Inc., discussed – for the first time publicly – his consulting firm's findings from its extensive deep-dive teardown, costing and benchmark study of the BMW i3 urban electric car. During his presentation, "Deconstructing the BMW i3: Groundbreaking Technology and the Composite Car," Munro discussed the carbon fiber life module, polymer components, recyclability and safety of what he considers to be "the most revolutionary car in terms of creative engineering and manufacturing since Henry Ford's Model T."
During the presentation, Munro focused on four crucial aspects of the BMW i3: the manufacturing of its carbon fiber life module; its polymer components; recyclability; and safety. Munro estimates the life module is comprised of approximately 90 percent carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) with various plastic and metal components attached throughout the assembly. Weighing 78 kilos, the life module is assembled robotically using various adhesives. Interestingly, the Class-A, high gloss roof is made using recycled scraps of carbon fiber trim from other components.
Instead of visible CFRP, the interior is trimmed primarily with Class-A surface combinations of polymers, leather and natural fiber reinforced plastic (NFP). For example, the NFP on the door and instrument panel is a kenaf-polypropylene blend. BMW also added safety through the use of polymers with PC/PBT A-pillar and side deformation elements.
Regarding recyclability and safety? BMW's i3 passes every safety test, including the narrow offset. Also, there are now companies recycling and reusing carbon fiber and, to aid in that effort, BMW and Boeing have a joint venture to address the issue.
"This is, without a doubt, one of the best engineered vehicles on the planet," said Munro. "We've taken apart a lot of cars, planes, wind turbines and more, and the BMW i3 continued to pleasantly surprise us throughout the teardown process. This will be the vehicle that other automakers look to for next-generation improvements."
Using its proprietary advanced design, quality and costing software, Munro is currently finalizing its comprehensive analysis of the BMW i3 vehicle and selling detail-rich reports for general purchase. To drive interest, Munro will give away a new BMW i3 with every purchase of the Master-/OEM-level version of its benchmarking study when purchased during the 2015 North American International Auto Show or the Plastics in Automotive Conference.
According to Munro, "knowing the cost and production methods BMW used for the i3 will be a strategic advantage to other automakers, as well as materials, component and manufacturing equipment suppliers." For more information about purchasing the reports, please visit this link: BMW i3 Teardown and Benchmarking Reports Summary.
About the Plastics in Automotive Conference
The Plastics in Automotive conference will explore how plastics can play a major role as a go-to material for building vehicles that are powerful, safe, comfortable and affordable and feature advancements, growth opportunities and success stories in automotive plastics. Featured topics include panel discussions on autonomous vehicles, material innovations, and the implementation of CAFE standards that will affect automotive development. For more information, visit https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1587555.
About Munro & Associates
Founded in 1988, Munro & Associates Inc. is a world class consulting engineering firm based in Troy, Mich. with offices in Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia. The firm specializes in upfront, predictive methods to increase profitability by improving quality, reliability and value, while reducing total lifecycle costs. The Munro team delivers in-depth knowledge in product design, manufacturing, quality and technologies from a broad selection of industries. For more information, visit www.leandesign.com.
SOURCE Munro & Associates, Inc.