BMW i3 Might Be Cheaper to Live with Due to Carbon Fiber Construction

BMW i3 CFRP Body 1 photo
Recent statements from BMW i’s Communications Manager, Manuel Satting seem to bring forth some good news for those people interested in the new i3.
As it turns out, the way the car was built (mainly from CFRP and with plastic body panels held onto the chassis with clip-ons) will provide lower insurance costs as well as lower prices for service operations.

If the car is hit in traffic, the plastic part that was damaged will be replaced in a matter of minutes, thus reducing the cost of labour and overall the total cost of the whole operation.

"When we evaluated carbon fiber, we started doing the safety, crash and repair concepts right from the beginning because just deciding on carbon fiber and then, when we're done, looking at [the details] would be a huge risk," Satting said for Autoblog.

“If you look at the i3, if the car has a small bit of damage, someone hits you at a traffic light or bumps into you in a parking garage, you don't hit carbon fiber, you mostly damage the exterior plastic parts. They can very easily be replaced because you click out the damaged part and replace it with a new one. If you have a stronger accident, then, of course, carbon fiber will be damaged. The interesting thing is that carbon fiber is not deforming, so the damage only happens locally and it breaks only at that specific area,” he added talking about the matter at hand.

So, that’s the secret strategy behind the company’s claims. Of course, that had to be backed up by insurance companies and the NHTSA before the car was launched and, according to Manuel, that’s exactly what happened.

 "That's our repair concept," he added. "We shared that with NHTSA and the comparable agency in Europe and the insurance industry and ... they decided to come up with a very low insurance system."

If this turns out to be true (we still have some checking up to do) the advantages of the i3 over its competitors will be even bigger, possibly meaning more trouble for the Zoe and Leaf.
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