A new era dawns: BMW Group begins series production of the BMW i3
electric car in Leipzig. / Industrial-scale manufacture of CFRP makes
its debut in the car industry. / Commitment to a sustainable
Leipzig/Munich. The BMW Group entered a new era in automotive
construction today with the start of series production of the BMW i3.
The world's first premium electric vehicle to be purpose-designed for
this form of drive system is the result of an all-encompassing
development approach targeted at reducing fuel consumption and
emissions in urban areas. Exceptionally high standards of
sustainability and resource efficiency have also been achieved in the
selection of materials and production processes employed. This is the
first time that carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) has been used
in automotive volume production. The body structure of the BMW i3
consists entirely of this extremely lightweight and durable material,
allowing the extra weight of the batteries for the electric drive
system to be cancelled out. By industrialising the manufacturing
process for CFRP, the BMW Group has become the first company worldwide
to make its use in vehicle production economically viable.
At the Leipzig plant alone, some 400 million has been invested in new
structures and machinery for the production of BMW i models and 800
new jobs have been created. The production network for BMW i also sees
key components for the BMW i3 manufactured at BMW Group plants and
joint venture facilities at Moses Lake in the USA and Wackersdorf,
Landshut and Dingolfing in Germany. The company has invested a total
of around 600 million in the BMW i production network and generated
over 1,500 jobs.
Series production of the BMW i3 got under way today in the presence of
the Minister President of the state of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich,
Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, and BMW AG Board Member for
Production, Harald Krüger. The first BMW i3 off the line has been
recruited as the lead car for the International Berlin Marathon on 29
September and was handed over to German marathon runner Jan Fitschen.
Deliveries of the BMW i3 to customers in Germany and other European
countries will begin in November, with the car's launch in the USA,
China and other markets to follow in early 2014.
"Today represents a milestone in our company's development,"
said BMW production chief Krüger. "We are making history with the
BMW i3. Not only is our first electric car about to hit the road, we
are also completely redefining sustainability with regard to personal
mobility thanks to groundbreaking technologies and processes."
Indeed, the entire value chain is firmly committed to sustainability
and efficiency: "We require 50% less energy and 70% less water,
and source the electric energy for production of the BMW i models
CO2-free from the wind turbines at the plant," added Krüger. This
huge reduction in energy and water consumption can be attributed
primarily to the elimination of the traditional painting process for
steel and aluminium bodies.
Stanislaw Tillich was delighted that this new chapter in automotive
history would be written in the federal state he heads: "I'm
proud that, in BMW, we have such an innovative carmaker here in Saxony
and that BMW is building the i3 at its plant here in Leipzig. This
proves that Saxony is an attractive location in terms of its research
and educational institutions, its infrastructure and, most
importantly, its highly qualified and motivated people."
Leipzig's mayor Burkhard Jung concurred: "The BMW plant has been
a boon for our city from the beginning and continues to act as a
growth engine for jobs. With BMW also basing production of its
electric vehicles here, the prospects for the local area are extremely
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