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Munro details new automotive technology

Published 14 January 2015

During today's Plastics in Automotive Conference in Detroit,Sandy Munro, CEO of Munro & Associates, 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.



Source: Company Press Release