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    BMW i3: The Ultimate Electric Machine?



    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    July 29, 2013

    For the past few years on the automotive auto show circuit, BMW has been showing off two concept vehicles that previews a new sub-brand; the i3 electric vehicle and i8 plug-in hybrid. Today in New York City, BMW pulled the covers off the first production vehicle of their new i sub-brand, the i3.

    The BMW i3 is definitely a different type of vehicle from the Munich automaker. Built on what BMW calls the LifeDrive architecture, the i3 comes in two parts. First is the Life Module which is the i3's body. The Life Module is made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic which contributes to the i3's curb weight of around 2,700 pounds.

    The second part of the LifeDrive architecture is the Drive Module. Using an aluminum chassis as a base, the Drive Module includes a 22-kilowatt, 450-pound lithium ion battery mounted in the middle of the vehicle and a rear-mounted electric motor that provides 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The run to 60 MPH takes about seven seconds and reaches a top speed of 93 MPH. BMW says the i3's range is somewhere between 80 to 100 miles. Recharging takes about 3 hours when using the standard charger and 30 minutes when using SAE DC Combo Fast Charger. Those who have a case of range anxiety will be happy to hear that BMW will offer a 650cc two-cylinder engine as a range extender.

    The i3 will start at $42,275 (includes a $925 destination charge) before incentives. The i3 arrives at dealers next spring.

    Source: BMW

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    Worldwide debut of the all-new BMW i3.

    The Ultimate Driving Machine in a new era of Individual Urban Mobility

    Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – EMBARGO: July 29, 2013 08:30 Eastern Time. . . BMW today introduced the all-new BMW i3 electric car, constructed in a revolutionary way from next-generation materials. The BMW i3 will go on sale in the US market in the second quarter of 2014, and starts with a base MSRP of $41,350, before any federal or state incentives, and before Destination & Handling fee (currently $925).

    Contents:

    1. Highlights & Quick-References: The All-New BMW i3.

    2. The Ultimate Driving Machine: Driving Dynamics Worthy of BMW.

    3. The Future of Urban Mobility

    4. Design. Aesthetic Appeal with Elegant, Renewable Interior.

    5. Explore the Worlds (Vehicle Trim Levels).

    6. BMW ConnectedDrive. Mobility services and new driver assistance.

    7. 360 Electric. Support and Convenience for Electric Mobility.

    8. Safety: Always a true BMW.

    1. Highlights: The All-New BMW i3:

    The new all-electric BMW i3 is a landmark in BMW’s mission to provide a completely sustainable, electric vehicle that still stays true to the Ultimate Driving Machine moniker. The BMW i3 is the first product of the new BMW i sub-brand, and is a truly purpose built electric car. It’s a new era for electro mobility at BMW.

    The vehicle concept behind the BMW i3 was designed from the outset to incorporate an all-electric drive system. This has numerous advantages over “conversion” vehicles, in which the original combustion engine is swapped for an electric motor. The engineers can design whatever works best, in terms of construction, dimensions and configuration of the electric drive system’s components. The car’s development is dictated by the characteristics designed into the car by the development team and not by the constraints imposed by a pre-existing vehicle design. For example, the space in a conversion vehicle set aside for the fuel tank or exhaust system cannot be used. In the BMW i3 there is no need for this kind of compromise.

    This leads to the LifeDrive architecture concept, which was purpose-built specifically for the BMW i3. It is comprised of two modules; the Life Module, and the Drive Module. Think of the Life Module as the passenger cabin, or greenhouse. It is the first-ever mass produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) passenger cell in the automotive business, and is a big factor in the cars efficiency. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic is equally as strong as steel, while being 50% lighter, and 30% lighter than aluminum. The result is an electric car that weighs about 2,700 lbs (preliminary US figures).

    Due to the lightweight, high tensile strength of CFRP, the passenger cell has added protection, and the battery has less work to do, which allows for the use of a smaller, lighter battery that saves even more weight, reduces charging time and increases range. The light weight design of the Life Module also lowers the BMW i3’s center of gravity, making it a more engaging and dynamic car to drive.

    The Drive Module, which is constructed out of 100% aluminum, consists of the 22-kWh, 450 lb. lithium-ion battery, electric drive train, MacPherson strut and 5-link rear suspension system and structural and crash components. The battery mounted in the rear, close to the drive wheels, gives impressive performance characteristics while also providing better traction.

    Another benefit of the LifeDrive architecture concept is that there is no space-consuming transmission tunnel running through the center of the car, like in most internal combustion powered cars, because of the separate Drive Module. This gives the BMW i3 the interior space of the BMW 3 Series, while only having the footprint of the much smaller BMW 1 Series.

    Even the vehicle’s key is sustainably manufactured. The source material of the new bio-polymer key is based on castor oil pressed from castor seeds. The owner’s manual is also made from renewable resources.

    The interior is made using high quality renewable sources and recycled materials. The BMW i3 has the Next Premium interior, which blends sustainable resources with a premium feel for the same interior quality as the BMW 5 Series Sedan. 25% of the plastics in the interior and 25% of the thermoplastic parts on the exterior are made from either recycled materials or renewable sources.

    According to studies carried out as part of BMW’s Project i, involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 12.5 million miles, it was revealed that the average daily distance covered was around 30 miles. The BMW i3 will be able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. This can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode. It is able to recharge in only 3 hours with the use of a 220V Level 2, 32-amp J1772 charger. The SAE DC Combo Fast Charging, which charges the BMW i3 up to 80% in 20 minutes, and 100% in 30, can be had as an option.

    In order to reduce range anxiety, a rear-mounted 650cc, 34 hp, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered Range Extender generator is available, which roughly doubles the vehicle’s range. When the battery gets to a certain level, the Range Extender starts and maintains the battery’s current state of charge. The Range Extender never directly drives the vehicle’s wheels. The Range Extender adds roughly 330 lbs. to the vehicle curb weight and has a fuel capacity of 2.4 gallons.

    Since 1999 according to the DOE, average gasoline prices in America have increased from approximately $1.136 to $3.618, or about a 218%. In the same time, the pricing of electricity has increased from 6.6 cents to 9.9 cents, a change of only 50%, making electricity a far more attractive commodity from a pricing standpoint.

    BMW i3 Quick-Reference Highlights.

    • Pricing (before federal or local incentives) starts at $41,350; $45,200 for Range Extender model. Destination & Handling Fee not included.
    • On Sale: Q2 of 2014 in the USA.
    • BMW’s 360 Electric electro mobility services.
    • BMW i Remote app, which connects with the car.
    • BMW Navigation is standard.
    • BMW Intelligent Emergency Call (‘eCall”), Anti theft alarm and Rear Parking Distance Control are standard.

    Driving.

    • 170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm.
    • 80-100 mile real-world EV range.
    • 22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs.
    • 650cc gasoline powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels.
    • 0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.0 seconds (preliminary).
    • Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency.
    • BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
    • Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving.
    • Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up.
    • Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery.
    • 3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+.
    • 3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time.
    • Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins.

    Chassis and Body.

    • Purpose built construction. World’s first mass-produced CFRP-constructed electric vehicle.
    • Built on innovative LifeDrive architecture composed of two parts: Life Module and Drive Module.
    • Life Module is essentially the cabin, constructed from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).
    • Drive Module is where all of the powertrain components are housed.
    • Drive Module is made from 100% aluminum.
    • Magnesium cross-member for instrument panel saves 20% weight vs. steel.
    • BMW 1 Series external footprint with BMW 3 Series interior space.
    • Adaptive Full LED headlights and LED taillights (standard in US market).
    • Weighs in at roughly 2,700 lbs.
    • No space-consuming transmission tunnel dividing car’s interior.
    • Pillar-less design with rear coach doors allow for easy entry and exit to rear seats.
    • Driver-oriented super-ergonomic controls.
    • Three vehicle Worlds (trim levels): Mega (standard in US), Giga, and Tera.
    • Standard 19-inch light alloy wheels with unique 155/70 all-season tires. 20-inch light alloy wheels optional.
    • No transmission tunnel and low console allows for Slide-through Experience, which benefits urban driving by the ability to exit from the passenger side.

    Sustainability.

    • Made with sustainable, renewable materials.
    • Instrument panel surround and door trim use fibers from Kenaf plant.
    • Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof panel is made partially with recycled CFRP from manufacturing process of other components
    • 25% of plastic used in interior comprised of recycled materials.
    • Dashboard wood trim crafted from responsibly-forested eucalyptus.
    • CFRP components are sustainably produced in Moses Lake, WA, USA, where the factory uses hydroelectric power.
    • The Leipzig, Germany assembly plant uses wind-generated electricity.
    • Olive-leaf extract is used to tan interior leather surfaces.

    2. The Ultimate Drive Machine®.

    BMW makes the Ultimate Driving Machine, and that holds true for the BMW i3. The hybrid synchronous electric motor, which weighs only 110 lbs., is developed and produced specially by the BMW Group for use in the BMW i3, with maximum revs of 11,400 rpm, generates an output of 170 hp and outputs maximum torque of 184 lb-ft on tap from the moment the car pulls away. That’s propels the 2,700 lb car from 0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.2 seconds, and to an electronically limited top speed of 93 mph (preliminary USA figures). Much like engine braking with a manual transmission, but even more effective, the accelerator pedal also acts as a brake when the driver lifts off the accelerator.

    The BMW i3 features Brake Energy Regeneration, which, when the driver lifts off, the motor acts as a generator and converts the kinetic energy into electricity, which is fed back into the battery for a range gain. This Regeneration is speed-sensitive, which means that the car “coasts” for added efficiency at high speeds, and generates the strong braking effect at lower speeds.

    The BMW i3’s accelerator pedal has a distinct “neutral” position. Rather than switching straight to energy Regeneration when the driver eases off the accelerator, the electric motor uses zero torque control to separate from the drivetrain and deploy only the available kinetic energy for propulsion. In this mode, the BMW i3 cruises using virtually no energy at all. This is another way anticipatory driving can preserve energy and increase the car’s range.

    The impressive electric motor, small turning circle of 32.3 feet, – a major benefit to driving in the city – BMW’s near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution, precise electric power steering and the stable suspension set-up help to make the i3 as satisfying to drive as every other BMW.

    The BMW i3’s tires are a unique 155/70/19 size on 19-inch light-alloy wheels, but the contact patch is the same of that of a more conventional 16-inch tire. To improve efficiency, they have low rolling resistance, and the narrow section width is a key factor in the BMW i3’s super-tight turning radius.

    The BMW i3 uses the BMW eDrive rear-wheel drive powertrain previously found on the BMW ActiveE. eDrive offers driving dynamics worthy of the Ultimate Driving Machine name and offers zero tailpipe emission driving. Beyond the traditional immediacy of response offered by electric motors when pulling away, power development in the BMW i3 also remains unbroken through higher speeds. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission, allowing the BMW i3 to accelerate with an uninterrupted flow of power up to its top speed.

    3. City Friendly: The Future of Urban Mobility.

    The BMW i3 marks the introduction of a new type of megacity vehicle. Its small size allows it to easily maneuver and park on city streets, while the car’s short front and rear overhangs make parking in tight spaces much easier. Its sharp turning radius and nimble handling are the perfect match for city driving. In the front, the Slide Through Experience allows the driver to slide through the car and exit on the passenger side, to avoid exiting into a busy city street. This is made possible because of the absence of the transmission tunnel. The coach doors make getting into and out of the car much more practical by eliminating the B pillar and creating one large opening to enter and exit.

    Not having to fill up on gas is a big advantage while living in the city due to the lack of gas stations. Since electricity is so readily available, recharging is possible almost anywhere, and practically gives the BMW i3 unlimited range due to being able to charge at any and every stop.

    Emission-free driving is also a plus in the city. Cities are so congested with cars idling at red lights or stop and go traffic, so having a car that runs on electricity that doesn’t pollute is another way that the BMW i3 benefits the environment, and its owner.

    On a similar note, the navigation system can take traffic conditions into consideration and help route around any areas of large congestion, which is a huge benefit when living in a city with a lot of traffic. It can help maximize efficiency and cut down commute times in order to save you time.

    The same navigation system also remembers the owners driving style and can judge by that and the amount of charge left if a route is too long or if a recharge is necessary for the return journey.

    4. Design: Aesthetic Appeal with Elegant, Renewable Interior.

    The BMW i3 is stretching the definitive envelope of what a conventional car can be and how it should look. Its striking appearance is unique to the BMW i sub-brand while still remaining unmistakably a BMW.

    Black Band.

    The front end has a clear and simple design. BMW’s iconic kidney grilles headlines the front end with the BMW i blue background. Under the kidney grille, silver layers sculpt the front apron. Contrasting black surfaces identify the functional load compartment under the hood and air inlets. Aerodynamic Air Curtains give an aggressive appearance to the BMW i3, while also helping to increase the range by minimizing air resistance and drag. U-shaped, LED headlights, give a fresh take on the BMW light design and give the car character.

    At the rear end, the large rear window gives great visibility and easy access to the trunk. The roof lines are optimized to give as much interior space as possible. The LED U-shaped taillights are housed in the rear window and appear to be floating there.

    Stream flow.

    The rear diffuser is the lowest point on the car and lends to its aerodynamics. Outlined in blue (not available with Solar Orange Metallic exterior color), the diffuser is shaped to show the BMW i3’s powerful stance.

    Thanks to its LifeDrive architecture, the BMW i3 is a new canvas for BMW interior designers. There is no center tunnel taking up space, which creates an open, roomy cabin. The front and rear bench seats allow for easy movement inside the vehicle and even allow the driver to exit through the passenger door if necessary.

    All driving controls are ergonomically placed for easy access to the driver. The instrument panel stretches through the whole interior from the air vents next to the steering wheel to just before the passenger door. It encompasses the radio and climate controls as well.

    The freestanding steering column is a distinctive element in the light interior. All of the driving controls, such as the instrument cluster, start/stop button and gear shift selector can be found there.

    The interior, which is put together using a technique known as layering, – which is the utilization of space through the structuring of lines and surfaces into layers – features Next Premium. It is made of high quality renewable raw materials, in the name of sustainability. The driver’s seat is located in a semi-command driving position, set-up higher for a better view of the road. Certain parts of the instrument panel and door panels are made using southern Asia’s Kenaf plant natural fibers to save about 10% weight, while the interior leather is tanned using a natural process that uses olive leaf extract to provide protection against fading and wear while giving a unique look.

    Using a magnesium supporting structure for the instrument panel saves weight in two ways. Superior material attributes over conventional sheet steel results in a weight reduction of 20%. Also, the high composite rigidity of the magnesium supporting structure allows a reduction in components and lowers weight by a further 10%.

    The wood trim used in the dashboard is crafted from eucalyptus which is grown in Europe and certified as 100% sourced from responsible forestry. As the eucalyptus ages, it darkens and changes color. The location of the crafting was selected carefully to ensure short delivery routes to the production stages.

    The Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), which is produced near Moses Lake, Washington, is made primarily with the use of hydroelectric power, harvested nearby. This is done to minimize the effect that BMW i3 production has on the environment. Since more than 10% of the carbon fiber needed to manufacture the BMW i3 is made from recycled materials, it is another way the BMW i3 is completely sustainable. The roof is made of CFRP scraps to help recycle left over material from other parts.

    5. Explore the World: Vehicle Trim Levels.

    Due to the unfamiliarity of electric mobility technology in the United States, buying an EV can be a daunting experience for the average customer. BMW sought to make this process as simple as possible in the new BMW i3. The BMW i3 comes in three different worlds: Mega, Giga and Tera, all of which come equipped with a very high level of standard equipment.

    The base Mega World comes standard with 19-inch extra-efficient forged aluminum wheels, BMW Navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive with eCall, the BMW i Remote, an alarm, 7.4 kW on board charger and LED headlights, DRLs and tail lights. The interior is donned in bright, lightweight Sensatec and sustainable cloth, which is made from recycled materials. It also features a leather trimmed steering wheel and grained dash trim.

    The next level, Giga World, has all the features of the Mega World but with the addition of distinct Giga-specific 19-inch wheels and an interior wrapped in leather and wool cloth. A universal garage door opener is included for easy access to the i3’s BMW i Charging Station, which is usually mounted in the garage. It also has Comfort Access, a sunroof, and satellite radio. The leather-trimmed steering wears contrasting stitching to give a classy, sporty look.

    The top-of-the-line Tera World, adds unique 19-inch wheels, a luxurious full leather, olive leaf-tanned interior, with textile accents and contrasting stitching, and anthracite floors mats.

    Available for every world is the Technology and Driving assist, and the Parking assist packages. The Technology and Driving Assist package adds a host of convenience and safety technologies to the BMW i3. It includes the wide-screen Navigation Professional with advanced real-time traffic and the new touch pad, Traffic Jam Assist, BMW Assist with Enhanced Bluetooth and USB with BMW Apps, Online Information services, Deceleration Assistant, ACC Stop & Go, Speed Limit info, BMW ConnectedDrive services, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Protection and City Collision Mitigation. The Parking Assist package is ideal for living in the city and includes a rearview camera, Park Assistant, which helps take advantage of tight parallel parking opportunities, and Front Auto Park Distance Control.

    The BMW i3 full options list for USA will be released Fall 2013.

    6. BMW ConnectedDrive. Mobility services and new driver assistance systems.

    BMW ConnectedDrive is the interface between the customer, their car, 360 Electric, and the Premium Mobility Service. Connected mobility is the embodiment of an individual, sustainable, efficient and convenient form of urban mobility. It is a crucial part of the BMW i and urban lifestyle.

    An embedded SIM card in the BMW i3 is the key that unlocks the BMW ConnectedDrive services, available to the new electric model. A feature of BMW ConnectedDrive is BMW i Navigation, which can search for a nearby charging station, which should give the driver piece of mind, knowing that there is a station nearby. It can also give a real world range estimate and visualization of the estimate with the SpiderMap, Real Time Traffic Information and plan a route that avoids the traffic as best as possible.

    The customer has access to personal assistance from a BMW ConnectedDrive agent at any time of the day or night. Concierge Service can help answer almost any of the driver’s questions. They can recommend restaurants, give information on destinations or guide the driver to the nearest charging station, among other things.

    In the unfortunate situation when an accident occurs, Intelligent Emergency Call (“eCall”) sends information like location, number of front-seat occupants, and even crash severity data to the BMW ConnectedDrive Call Center, which quickly informs the appropriate 911-dispatch center.

    BMW ConnectedDrive can also connect directly with your iPhone with an original Apple cable that connects to the car and built-in BMW Apps.

    The optionally available Driving Assistant Plus for the BMW i3 comprises Collision Warning with brake priming function, which is activated at speeds up to about 35 mph (60 km/h) and is able to respond to both moving and stationary vehicles ahead, as well as to pedestrians. It also comes with Active Cruise Control including Stop & Go function. In addition to visual and audible warnings, the system is capable of braking the vehicle by itself, if required, with up to maximum stopping power. The Parking Assistant can also be found on the option list and performs the steering maneuvers at the same time as controlling accelerator, brake and gear selection, enabling fully automated parallel parking. Another handy optional extra is the Traffic Jam Assistant that allows drivers to delegate the tasks of pulling away, braking and steering to keep the vehicle in lane. Meanwhile, the Speed Limit Info system is also offered.

    7. 360 Electric: Support and Convenience for Electric Mobility.

    Electric cars differ drastically from their gas-powered counterparts, and the 360 Electric features further that differential. All of the 360 Electric features help to ensure convenient electro mobility in most situations.

    If the BMW i3 buyer has a private parking space at their home, BMW i will offer a home charging station, which includes a BMW i charging station for convenient charging. They will even send a representative to install it to any specific need. 360 Electric will also help with public charging by locating the nearest station.

    As part of 360 Electric, the BMW i Remote app links to your car and can monitor its battery level, charging status and other charging-related functions, such as heating and air conditioning. The app can also give the cars location, lock or unlock the doors, honk the horn, or flash the lights.

    Before driving away in the BMW i3, it is recommended to precondition that battery to the preferred operating temperature of between 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit to optimize range. Battery temperature may be monitored through the iDrive system. The battery liquid cooling system keeps the battery at the ideal operating temperature which increases performance and life expectancy. Battery condition is controlled and operated in harmony by the intelligent energy management system. This, combined with Brake Energy Regeneration system extends the vehicle’s range while enhancing its performance.

    The Range Assistant is engaged both for route planning and during journeys already under way. Topographical mapping technology helps find the most efficient route to your destination by calculating distance, elevation and other factors, in order to get the best range from your BMW i3. If the destination is beyond the cars range, it can suggest switching to ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ to get more from the battery’s charge.

    In the unlikely circumstance of a breakdown, the BMW Assist Safety Plan provides contact with a Response Specialist at the touch of a button.

    BMW Assist also introduces Navigation services specially-developed to enhance electric mobility alongside familiar features including the Concierge Services information facility and the intelligent BMW Assist eCall. Moreover, drivers may use the BMW i Remote app to share information with their car using a smartphone. The pedestrian navigation function guides the driver from parking place to their final destination and back.

    8. Safety: Always a true BMW.

    From an efficiency standpoint, the body of the BMW i3 needs to be not only strong but, above all, light. However, from a safety point of view, it has to be not only light but, above all, strong. This apparent conflict of interests highlights the engineers’ pioneering work in developing the vehicle architecture of the BMW i3. Here, there is no contradiction between lightweight construction and safety. Quite the opposite, in fact: the LifeDrive concept of the BMW i3, with its combination of aluminum and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), is on a par with other structures and even performs better in some areas of crash testing despite its lightweight design. The use of CFRP essentially allows the construction of extremely lightweight bodies. Moreover, CFRP possesses an impressive ability to absorb energy and is extremely damage-tolerant. CFRP is the lightest material that can be used in the construction of car bodies without compromising on safety.

    The LifeDrive concept is based around two horizontally separate independent modules. The Drive module – the aluminum chassis – gives the car its high-strength foundations and integrates the battery and drive system into a single structure. The Life module, meanwhile, consists principally of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger compartment made from CFRP. With this innovative concept, the BMW Group takes the combination of lightweight design, vehicle architecture and crash safety to an entirely new dimension.

    LifeDrive module offers tremendous safety.

    The crash requirements in automotive manufacture are very strict. Numerous impact criteria stipulated by the stringent guidelines of global consumer protection organizations and legislators have to be taken into account. During the development of the BMW i3 concept, there was close consultation with the international crash test institutes on the innovative car body and safety concept of the BMW i models.

    The high-strength passenger compartment teams up with the intelligent distribution of forces within the LifeDrive module to provide the cornerstones for optimum occupant protection. Even after the structurally-debilitating offset front crash at 64 km/h (40 mph), the extremely rigid material maintains an intact survival space for passengers. The crash-activated aluminum structures at the front and rear end of the Drive module provide additional safety, so that less body deformation occurs compared with comparable steel

    bodies. Furthermore, the “cocoon effect” of the CFRP car body ensures that the doors can be opened without any problem and the interior remains largely free of any intrusions.

    Even rescue scenarios have been worked through and checked. In standard cutting tests, the process of rescuing occupants from a BMW i3 involved in an accident was comparable to that for a conventional vehicle. In some respects, indeed, it was more straightforward since the lighter components can be more easily cut than high-strength steels, for example.

    Impressive rigidity, combined with its ability to absorb an enormous amount of energy, makes CFRP extremely damage-tolerant. Even at high impact speeds it displays barely any deformation. As in a Formula One cockpit, this exceptionally stiff material provides an extremely strong survival space. Furthermore, the body remains intact in a front or rear-on impact, and the doors still open without a problem after a crash.

    In its dry, resin-free state CFRP can be worked almost like a textile, and as such allows a high degree of flexibility in how it is shaped. The composite only gains its rigid, final form after the resin injected into the lattice has hardened. This makes it at least as durable as steel, but it is much more lightweight.

    The high tear resistance along the length of the fibers also allows CFRP components to be given a high-strength design by following their direction of loading. To this end, the fibers are arranged within the component according to their load characteristics. By overlaying the fiber alignment, components can also be strengthened against load in several different directions. In this way, the components can be given a significantly more efficient and effective design than is possible with any other material that is equally durable in all directions – such as metal. This, in turn, allows further reductions in terms of both material use and weight, leading to another new wave of savings potential. The lower accelerated mass in the event of a crash means that energy-absorbing structures can be scaled back, cutting the weight of the vehicle.

    Superior protection in a side impact.

    The ability of CFRP to absorb energy is truly extraordinary. Pole impacts and side-on collisions both highlight the impressive safety-enhancing properties of CFRP. Despite the heavy, in some cases concentrated forces, the material barely sustains a dent, and passengers enjoy nearly unbeatable protection. All of which makes CFRP perfectly suited for use in a vehicle’s flanks, where every centimeter of undamaged interior is invaluable. However, there are limits to what CFRP can endure. If the forces applied go beyond the limits of the material’s strength, the composite of fibers breaks up into its individual components in a controlled process.

    In the Euro NCAP side impact test, in which a pole strikes the side of the vehicle dead-center at 32 km/h (20 mph), the carbon fiber composite also demonstrates its extraordinary energy-absorbing capacity. The Life module absorbs the entire impact with minimal deformation, guaranteeing optimum passenger protection. Even as CFRP dissipates energy, danger to passengers or other road users is substantially mitigated.

    The best of both worlds: combining aluminum and CFRP.

    The new Drive module has also been carefully designed and structured with these exacting crash requirements in mind. Crash-active aluminum structures in the front and rear sections of the vehicle provide additional safety. In a front or rear-on collision, these absorb a large proportion of the energy generated. The battery, meanwhile, is mounted in the underbody section of the car to give it the best possible degree of protection. Statistically, this is the area that absorbs the least energy in the event of a crash, and the vehicle shows barely any deformation here as a result. Moreover, positioning the battery in the underbody allows the BMW Group development engineers to give the vehicle an ideal low center of gravity, which makes it extremely agile and unlikely to roll over.

    The high-voltage battery also benefits from the excellent deformation properties of the CFRP Life module. In the side crash test, the pole does not penetrate as far as the battery. The mix of materials used and the intelligent power distribution in the LifeDrive module ensure that the high-voltage battery is optimally protected even in the side sill area.

    All in all, the high-strength CFRP passenger cell teams up with the intelligent distribution of forces in the LifeDrive module to lay the foundations for optimum occupant protection.

    Post-crash notification.

    In the unfortunate situation when an accident occurs, Intelligent Emergency Call (“eCall”) sends information like location, number of front-seat occupants, and even crash severity data to the BMW ConnectedDrive Call Center, which quickly informs the appropriate 911-dispatch center.

    Lithium-ion batteries are safe even in the event of a fire.

    Safety is a key criterion in the development of the BMW i models. A range of systems and measures have been implemented in the vehicle that ensure safety in normal operation and in the event of accidental fires. The high-voltage system is designed to cope with accidents beyond the legal requirements, with the high-voltage battery including features that ensure its safe reaction even in situations such as this.

    The latest series of tests conducted by the renowned DEKRA E-Mobility Competence Center were extremely extensive – ranging from how a car might catch fire, how the flames might spread and what would be required to extinguish the fire, to the pollution caused by run-off of the water used for fighting the fire. The experts concluded that electric and hybrid cars with lithium-ion drive system batteries are at least as safe as vehicles with conventional drive systems in the event of fire.

    To ensure maximum safety in such a crash scenario, the high-voltage battery is disconnected from the high-voltage system and the connected components discharged when the passenger restraint systems are triggered. This safely prevents the possibility of a short circuit, which could lead to electric shocks or cause a fire.

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    WOW, That is one ugly car, still not a fan of it. Yet it has the BMW propeller logo on it and those tree huggers will eat it up.

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    SWEET. I think it looks great. Interior looks super airy and the whole thing seems uber-futuristic. I like how the taillights have no cutline.

    But, yes, I can see how it's a polarizing vehicle.

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    too much money for too little car. I like the concept of EVs, but this should have been done in a 1-Series or 3-series.

    edit: though I do wonder if it will be compatible with the Tesla Supercharger network (if Tesla allows non-Tesla vehicles to charge there)

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    too much money for too little car. I like the concept of EVs, but this should have been done in a 1-Series or 3-series.

    edit: though I do wonder if it will be compatible with the Tesla Supercharger network (if Tesla allows non-Tesla vehicles to charge there)

    You think? I think this is the right price considering some of the items in the i3. I don't think it will do great in sales, but then again..

    BMW did a program with a 1-Series EV (ActiveE) about two years ago. They were limited to a few states and you could only lease them.

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    Yes. It's a city car with limited range. It is a well appointed city car, but a city car none-the-less. Would you pay $42k base for a well appointed Nissan Leaf with cloth seats? Adding a range extender and options will easily push the car close to the $50k range.

    Checking every box on the Chevy site for the Volt gets you Leather, nav, all the safety nannies and still only nets out to $39,950 after incentives and that gets you a car with no range anxiety, yet gasoline usage would likely be about the same if you're just the typical city driver being targeted by BMW here.

    *all prices listed pre-tax-credit

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    Size wise, its direct competitor is the Spark and it is $16,000 too much for an electric golf cart till you start adding BMWs options.

    Sure it is a second faster than Spark, sure it is a RWD, sure it is possibly more fun to drive, sure it is a BMW.

    And all those Volt disparagers - GM did something right that BMW is following with a range extender as the Volt has.

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    I just read the 328d is rated at 32/45 mpg, I'd rather have that for less money than an electric car with low range. But that being said there are fools out there, and people in California or big cities that will buy it just because it is electric and says BMW on it.

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    I just read the 328d is rated at 32/45 mpg, I'd rather have that for less money than an electric car with low range. But that being said there are fools out there, and people in California or big cities that will buy it just because it is electric and says BMW on it.

    Yeah, the problem for some buyers is the 328d looks like any other 328 whilst the i3 is distinctive...kind of like comparing the Cruze diesel to the Volt.

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    I just read the 328d is rated at 32/45 mpg, I'd rather have that for less money than an electric car with low range. But that being said there are fools out there, and people in California or big cities that will buy it just because it is electric and says BMW on it.

    So what you're saying is you value a lower MSRP over efficiency. That's fine. But why not get a 328i instead, which is even cheaper than 328d?

    I'd rather get a Silverado LT over a Sienna Limited, but I'd rather get a Challenger SXT over the Silverado LT. But actually, I'd rather get a Volt over the Challenger SXT, though I would rather get a used E350 4Matic wagon over the Volt. And, after more thought, I would rather have the new Fiesta ST over a used E350 4Matic wagon, though in truth, I would probably get a 1978 635CSi over the Fiesta.

    Those are my personal preferences, but in no way are those vehicles actual competitors. The i3 is a hatchback designed principally for urban environments, while a 3-series is a sports sedan designed principally for motorways and country lanes. As such, an i3 buyer likely values different attributes (e.g., an airy, upright interior) from a 3-series buyer (e.g., a low-slung, cockpit-like interior).

    Edited by pow
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    I hate to burst bubbles, but people who use the word efficiency in regards to electric cars crack me up. :rofl:

    Efficiency on electric auto's is a joke when you look at the full picture of how much green house gas is created for the battery packs, the amount of pollution created for the battery and electric motor systems. I would have to find it, but a few years back when the Prius first came out, someone did a review on what the estimated amount of green house gas created for a standard compact gas car compared to the Prius car. To produce the Prius you created 10yrs worth of green house gas compared to producing an eco compact and running it for 10 years and with the battery changes needed at 100,000 miles or sooner depending on where the auto ran, you produced additional large amounts of green house gas compared to the compact auto.

    Electric Auto's are not the Efficient Auto marketing tends to portray, it is all a lie.

    Now just being clean in a dense city, yes they make perfect sense to have golf carts in the big cities for cleaner living by city folk.

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    I hate to burst bubbles, but people who use the word efficiency in regards to electric cars crack me up. :rofl:

    Efficiency on electric auto's is a joke when you look at the full picture of how much green house gas is created for the battery packs, the amount of pollution created for the battery and electric motor systems. I would have to find it, but a few years back when the Prius first came out, someone did a review on what the estimated amount of green house gas created for a standard compact gas car compared to the Prius car. To produce the Prius you created 10yrs worth of green house gas compared to producing an eco compact and running it for 10 years and with the battery changes needed at 100,000 miles or sooner depending on where the auto ran, you produced additional large amounts of green house gas compared to the compact auto.

    Electric Auto's are not the Efficient Auto marketing tends to portray, it is all a lie.

    Now just being clean in a dense city, yes they make perfect sense to have golf carts in the big cities for cleaner living by city folk.

    I've read the reports, spoken with experts, and came to the opposite conclusion. I could go into the details, but to be honest, I don't want to waste my time with you.

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    Why even bother commenting POW if you are not even going to put up any points of thoughts. The amount of destructive corrosive chemicals used and their dangerous by product in production of the Electric auto's greatly out weights the instant gratification of people that say I am green without looking at the bigger picture. Post your reports and quote who your experts are that shows the production of the batteries, electric motors etc do not produce the large quantities of green house gas.

    Yes electric auto's do have a major reduction in driving these glorified golf carts for inner city use compared to petrol cars, but there is a big up front production of green house gas to achieve this. How it plays out will be interesting to see.

    For the US to meet the crazy 2050 fuel efficiency targets we will need auto's that get 180MPG by then and current technology of electric auto's, petrol and diesel do not have what it takes to get there. While a big fan of CNG, even that will not make the 2050 standards work to reduce green house gas and improve efficiency without some hybrid alternatives. I am not against the electric auto's, but we do need to acknowledge the additional costs to mother earth in production of these products that is not done with a petrol, cng or diesel auto.

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    I would take a 328d over an i3 because the 3-series looks better, and is cheaper, and faster. I'd take a 328d over a 328i because the diesel has far more torque and gets about 10 mpg more. The only hard decision would be 335i performance vs 328d efficiency. The C-class will go down the same road, the new model will have the turbo diesel 4, which is 201 hp and 369 lb-ft, if that gets 45 mpg, how much appeal is there for the 300 hp/273 lb-ft V6 at 29 mpg. The good news is some good stuff is coming, I think it is exciting to see 45 mpg on something that isn't a Geo Metro or a Prius.

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    Can't see any good future to this one to be honest, but I'm also one of those guys who thinks there's too much money involved in the oil business that's going to be forever impossible to live in a world with a large % of electric cars, but regarding this one, in my opinion it doesn't have the looks the bmw costumers are used to, aswell as the price it's kind of high for an electric car who has much less potential performance wise (leaving aside the fact that it's design is pretty ugly), than it's competitors in the fuel side, of course the BMW addicts/fanboys might be looking forward to have one, only way it could cross my mind buying this, was if I was rich as hell and couldn't care less about those 42000$. But the i8 concept, also an electric, the one they used on the mission impossible movie, seems pretty attractive.

    .pp4.jpg

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    • By William Maley
      As we accurately judged a few weeks back, Volkswagen's concept for the Detroit Auto Show is another Microbus. But don't call it that, instead call it the I.D. Buzz.
      Volkswagen is clear in their press release that the I.D. Buzz "is not a retro design on 22-inch wheels." We're not fully sure on that because it looks like Microbus with the large Volkswagen emblem up front, two-tone paint, and a large area of glass. The only point you can give Volkswagen about it not being a 'retro design' is the front end not being so blunt. The interior can seat up to eight people and there are some nice details such as a wooden floor and LED ambient lighting. Technology features include a removable tablet for passengers, augmented reality heads-up display, and a steering wheel that retracts when the vehicle is put into an autonomous driving mode.
      Like the first I.D. concept, the I.D. Buzz uses Volkswagen's upcoming Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). For the Buzz, the MEB platform is extended to house a 111-kWh battery pack and two electric motors. Volkswagen says output stands at 369 horsepower while range is estimated at 270 miles on a "predicted US driving cycle". As we mentioned a moment ago, the I.D. Buzz will have the autonomous capability thanks to four onboard laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors, and a number of camera around the vehicle.
      The question of course when it comes to Volkswagen and their Microbus concepts is will it go into production or not. In the case of the I.D. Buzz, that is a maybe. We know Volkswagen is working on an electric van due out sometime between 2020-2025 and this could be the one. But given Volkswagen's track record, we're not fully counting on it either.
      Source: Volkswagen
      Press Release is on Page 2


      I.D. BUZZ CONCEPT MAKES ITS WORLD DEBUT AT THE NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW IN DETROIT
      Versatile, zero-emissions, all-wheel drive vehicle is a Microbus for the future All-electric driving range of up to 270 miles, comparable to gasoline engined cars Maximum flexibility: I.D. electric drive system allows seating for up to eight and two luggage compartments Focus on people: in the fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” driving mode, the driver’s seat can be turned 180 degrees to face the rear Traction for any terrain: electric all-wheel drive with two motors and 369 horsepower Head-up display projects information via augmented reality Vehicle features fully autonomous driving capability Flexible center console with tablet display and Beats® Bluetooth® loudspeakers can be used outside the vehicle Detroit, January 2017 — The era of electric mobility has begun, and Volkswagen will be shaping it with the I.D. BUZZ concept presented at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A Microbus for a new era, the electric concept forges links between the origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electrifying future. The I.D. BUZZ, like the compact I.D. presented at the Paris Motor Show, is another new Volkswagen vehicle that gives compelling design to electric mobility and reflects a transformation of the brand and its models. 
      Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand, says: “The Volkswagen brand’s big electric offensive begins in the year 2020 with a completely new vehicle architecture. That is when we will be launching an entirely new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles to the market. By 2025 we want to be selling one million of these vehicles annually. We are making electric mobility the new trademark of Volkswagen.”
      The I.D. BUZZ zero-emissions vehicle conceptually follows the new Volkswagen brand strategy. Its claim is: “We make the future real.” Four fields of innovation form the basis for this strategy: 
      Smart Sustainability—Volkswagen is advancing the development of innovative high-volume electric car models Automated Driving—Volkswagen will make cars even safer and more comfortable by means of autonomous driving Intuitive Usability—Volkswagen is focusing on cars that are intuitive to operate and feature new display and control concepts Connected Community—In the future, Volkswagen will interconnect humans, cars and the environment with a Volkswagen user identity Volkswagen is showing just how multifaceted electric mobility can be in Detroit with the I.D. BUZZ concept vehicle—maximum space utilization with all-wheel drive, electric motors at the front and rear axles, a fully autonomous driving mode (“I.D. Pilot”) and a new generation of display elements and controls.
      The “I.D. BUZZ” name was hardly an arbitrary choice. I.D. stands for “Identity,” “Idea,” “Individual,” “Intelligent” and “Iconic Design”. BUZZ, on the other hand, is a phonetic word play on “bus” and refers to the silent “buzzing” of the drive system. 
      “The I.D. BUZZ is a next-generation vehicle based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), offering comfort and plenty of space,” says Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management responsible for Development. “The overall concept of the I.D. BUZZ points the way to the future. This concept vehicle is the world's first electric multi-purpose vehicle to be equipped with a fully autonomous driving mode. It carries the feeling of freedom of the Microbus over to a completely new era of mobility.”
      Thanks to its MEB underpinnings, space utilization is better in the I.D. BUZZ than in any other electric vehicle. An excursion with two families over the weekend? A gig with the band in another city? A vacation trip with bikes and boards? Driving to a business meeting with colleagues who need to prepare on the way? None of these scenarios pose a problem with the multi-variable seating layout and interactive networking of the I.D. BUZZ. Using an extended MEB-XL platform, this concept vehicle—which is 194.6 inches long, 77.8 inches wide and 77.3 inches tall—offers an extraordinarily spacious interior for its class.
      The I.D. BUZZ is not only huge inside, but its technical concept makes it one of the world's most comfortable cars. It has a silent drive system and an extremely long wheelbase of 129.9 inches. The floor-mounted battery lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity and delivers ideal weight distribution. The suspension layout—including multi-link rear suspension with integrated drive units and decoupled subframes at front and rear, as well as air suspension at the rear axle using electronically controlled dampers—delivers premium class comfort, high cornering power, and ideal acoustics.
      The zero-emissions all-wheel drive system has a total output of 369 horsepower and an NEDC electric driving range of 600 kilometers (270 miles on a predicted U.S. driving cycle). One electric motor at the front axle and one at the rear each deliver a power output of 201 hp, distributed between the two axles by an “electric propshaft.” The I.D. BUZZ shown in Detroit can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a governed top speed of 99 mph. 
      The vehicle’s 111 kWh battery can be charged to 80 percent of its capacity within 30 minutes using the Combined Charging System (CCS) or an inductive charging interface, with a charging rate of 150 kW. As an alternative, the battery can be charged from any conventional household outlet and at charging stations. The all-wheel drive configuration is just one of several that are conceivable. Thanks to the MEB, it would be just as easy to equip the I.D. BUZZ with a rear-wheel drive setup producing up to 268 hp and a smaller 83 kWh battery, depending on the region and purpose of use.
      Automated Driving 
      The I.D. BUZZ is the world’s first fully autonomous multi-purpose vehicle. A slight push on the steering wheel makes it retract and merge into the instrument panel, switching the I.D. BUZZ from manual control to the fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” mode that could make it into production by 2025. In this mode, the wheel is decoupled from the steering gear via a newly developed steering column system. The ambient lighting then switches from white light (“Drive”) to mood lighting that is warm and relaxed. At the same time, the distribution of ambient lighting is extended to the rear seating area. Simultaneously, the status of the I.D. BUZZ can be seen at all times on the tablet and the augmented reality head-up display.
      Now driving on its own, the zero-emissions concept has already activated its onboard laser scanners. Four of them extend from the roof in “I.D. Pilot” mode. The cleanly styled roof sensors call attention to the fully autonomous mode by indirect lighting.
      The I.D. BUZZ is not only able to detect other road users with its laser sensors, but also with the assistance of ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side area view cameras and a front camera. Traffic data is also continually acquired and compared with the vehicle data via the cloud. Fully autonomous mode is deactivated by touching the steering wheel or by pressing the brake or accelerator pedal.
      Volkswagen User-ID 
      I.D. knows who will be at the wheel, thanks to the Volkswagen User-ID. This is an individual profile that stores the personal seat and air conditioning settings, favorite radio stations and songs, sound system settings, exterior sound, configuration of the navigation system, type of ambient lighting and contact information for the driver’s friends and business associates. This profile can be retrieved securely via the cloud. 
      Consequently, the I.D. BUZZ also recognizes which person is entering the car or wants to take the steering wheel at any given time via the authorized user’s smartphone—the Digital Key. As soon as a person approaches the vehicle, the sensor surfaces for opening the door light up. If the person’s hand is very close to the surface, that individual door is opened. Using the Volkswagen User-ID and a relevant smartphone app, passengers in the vehicle can also control infotainment functions and input intermediate destinations into the navigation system. The route is shown on a tablet. 
      Exterior Design  
      The original Microbus is a legend all over the world and forms a global community. Although the I.D. BUZZ is designed for a new era, it would fit in perfectly with its predecessors.
      Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, says: “The I.D. BUZZ is not a retro design on 22-inch wheels; rather, we have taken the logical next step forward in development using what is in all likelihood the most successful design of its kind in the world. The entire design is extremely clean with its homogeneous surfaces and monolithic silhouette. The future and origins of Volkswagen design DNA combine here to create a new icon.”
      The best example of the interplay of familiar and new elements is the front end with its characteristic ”V” and likeable ”face”—it’s clearly a Microbus, but a completely new interpretation. Oliver Stefani, Head of Volkswagen Exterior Design, says, “Instead of the round headlights used in the original model, in designing the I.D. BUZZ we opted for slender LED systems, which not only turn night into day, but also interactively communicate with other road users and pedestrians.” Similar to the compact I.D., the bumpers also integrate a matte aluminum honeycomb design, with illuminated outer sections.
      Extremely short body overhangs also define the vehicle. This applies equally to the roofline with its charismatic front overhang and three stylized air vents in the rear roof pillars, a small tribute to the T1. Each detail has, however, been re-interpreted and implemented in a new context.
      At the front, wrap-around ambient lighting forms a new era equivalent of chrome trim. It is actually an accent strip made of matte aluminum that is embedded in what designers call a sharp undercut. Indirect ambient lighting has been integrated into this full wraparound undercut, which also forms the ”V” of the front hood. When it is dark outside, this creates a unique light signature together with the backlit front and rear VW logos and the lighting elements in the front bumpers.
      The I.D. BUZZ is also unmistakable from the rear. Here, the slender full-LED lights and large painted surfaces make up the iconic design. The tailgate extends far down into the bumper to give a low load sill height of just 23.6 inches. Thanks to its compact electric drive, the I.D. BUZZ not only offers a rear luggage compartment of between 23.3 to 162.5 cubic feet, but also a front trunk of 6.1 cubic feet. The doors and trunklids are power operated: opening the tailgate, front doors and rear sliding doors is initiated by sensors outside the vehicle. Thanks to the Digital Key, all the user needs to do is hold his or her hand over a marked area for entry.
      There are clear design parallels to the I.D. shown in Paris. The front LED lights, wrap-around LED taillights, homogeneously integrated bumpers, side sills stylistically raised at the center of the door area, laser scanners on the roof and the aluminum-alloy wheel design combine to form the design insignia of Volkswagen’s future electric mobility.
      There are few cars in the world that look as good in classic two-tone paint as the Microbus, which is why it was a must for the new I.D. BUZZ. The car is painted in Silver Metallic above the seam that integrates the ambient lighting and in Cyber Yellow Pearl Effect below that line. The yellow hue is also found on the sidewalls of the tires, while the 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are painted in Galvano Gray Metallic.
      The I.D. BUZZ communicates with its surroundings via the LED lighting at the front end. The LED headlights interactively mimic the gestures of the human eye and thus interact with other traffic. The concept vehicle masters these light scenarios:
      Parking. When all systems of the I.D. BUZZ are shut down it looks from the front as if its “eyes” are closed. When the I.D. BUZZ is parked, just a narrow, small LED strip is visible in the headlights. Opening. When the I.D. is “awakened”, it greets its driver and passengers with a 360-degree light show. First, the Volkswagen logos light up. This is followed by the wrap-around ambient lighting. In the final phase of this light show, the I.D. BUZZ opens its “eyes.” Driving. The Volkswagen logos, wrap-round ambient lighting, Daytime Running Lights and the LED headlights are always active while driving. As the car accelerates, the “eyes” adjust to the higher speed by adopting a more dynamic light signature. Automated. A distinctive feature of the fully autonomous driving mode is that the laser scanners in the roof are extended and illuminated. As the car speeds up, the LED “eyes” look ahead, giving the car a sportier appearance. In addition, the “eyes” are interactive in the fully autonomous driving mode. If the I.D. BUZZ wants to turn, for instance, the LED headlights look in the direction the car is going to turn. To top it off, if the vehicle detects people at the side of the road, it looks at them. Through this interaction, the Volkswagen alerts pedestrians and cyclists to its presence. Interior Design 
      “The design of the concept places people as the focus; it should appeal to them and invite them to come in,” says Klaus Bischoff. Awaiting them there is an interior that combines the world of the automobile with the atmosphere of a lounge. Tomasz Bachorski, Head of Interior Design of the Volkswagen brand, explains the next era of interior design: “From now on, we will be networking the vehicle much more intensively to make it more interactive. The interior will become a sort of family room, a mobile place where you feel at home.” 
      As a result, the classic cockpit no longer exists in the I.D. BUZZ. In place of traditional instruments or controls is an intuitively operated cockpit consisting of:
      Touch-sensitive steering wheel (multifunction steering wheel with capacitive surfaces) Augmented reality head-up display “I.D. Box” center console (including a tablet usable outside the vehicle) In the “I.D. Pilot” mode, the front seats can be electrically unlatched and rotated so they face the rear, after the “I.D. Box” multifunctional center console is moved rearward. The seating system is flexibly designed to be like the living space at home or a lounge area. This versatility is based on a seat rail system that is integrated in the flat floor and on adjustable and folding seats. The seatbacks of the individual second row seats can be folded to form tables. At stops, the third row can be made into a bed, enabling the I.D. BUZZ to be used for overnight voyages. When the trip is resumed, clever detail solutions make travel more pleasant, such as softly padded rear side sun visors that can be moved and are designed so that a passenger can lean on them. Individually placeable cushions also underscore the cozy atmosphere of the interior, which is flooded with light thanks to its large windows and two-part panoramic roof.
      The warm interior colors are also in keeping with the lounge character. For instance, the dashpad in front of the driver and front passenger transitions from Magnet Metallic to Moon White Metallic, and the dashpad and door panel structures are illuminated by the ambient lighting as well. Stylish details include:
      Wood floor. The floor is made of fine, Silver Birch wood. The bright color underscores the cozy character of the interior. In the rear seating area, aluminum inlays in the wood take up the honeycomb pattern of the dashpad and touch-sensitive steering wheel as well as the front bumper. Door trim. The top sections of the doors are covered with sophisticated metallic leatherette. The interplay of color is underscored by the transition from the darker driver’s area to the brighter passenger zone. The designers have upgraded the lower sections of the door trim panels with a cream-colored knitted fabric throughout the rear seating area. Seat fabrics. Seats are covered in an innovative knit fabric that features a graduated honeycomb pattern. The refined knitting technique used to produce the individual diamond shapes allows a light metallic background material show through. Accentuated yellow details such as piping and seat belts showcase the fresh look of the I.D. BUZZ while creating a connection between exterior and interior. As soon as the driver’s seat is occupied, the steering wheel, which is retracted into the dashpad in parking mode, extends out, and the indicators and buttons on the steering wheel light up simultaneously. In parallel, the I.D. BUZZ activates the augmented reality head-up display and the tablet in the “I.D. Box.” The ambient lighting also greets the driver. Close the doors, buckle up, press the brake pedal and select a gear and the I.D. BUZZ is immediately ready to start. The concept car is shut off by the “P” button on the steering wheel. When finished, the steering wheel retracts flush into the cockpit panel.
      The steering wheel of the I.D. BUZZ does not have any spokes. The wheel, trimmed with Nappa leather, is more of an interactive touchpad. This touch-sensitive steering wheel is a new concept, which allows the driver to operate the drive modes (P, R, N and D), turn signals and various menu functions as well as settings for the head-up display via touch-sensitive areas on its surface. 
      The outer region of the touchpad has a honeycomb-like light signature, as does the dashpad ahead of the driver and front passenger. Pressing on the illuminated VW logo in the middle of the touch-sensitive steering wheel initiates a switch between the “Drive” mode and “I.D. Pilot” mode; the steering wheel then retracts or extends accordingly. 
      The “I.D. Box” fits the character of the I.D. BUZZ perfectly. When the vehicle is being driven by someone, the I.D. Box is positioned between the front seats. In this case, the integrated tablet in the console is positioned to serve as a display and control surface for the driver and front passenger. The I.D. Box is also equipped with loudspeakers from Beats®, which are interconnected with the passengers’ smartphones and the sound system via Bluetooth®. When the driver switches to the “I.D. Pilot” mode, the entire “I.D. Box” moves towards the rear. Other console features include cupholders and a folding table. The console tablet (like the Beats speakers) is easy to unsnap and remove from the vehicle.
      The Volkswagen I.D. lets the I.D. BUZZ know who the driver is. The individual vehicle settings are configured accordingly, and features such as the person’s calendar are shown on the tablet. The I.D. BUZZ also knows the driver’s friends via the Volkswagen I.D. Based on this information, the car might recommend meeting with friends or suggest activities that would fit into the day’s schedule. 
      In “I.D. Pilot” autonomous mode, the system informs the driver on the tablet about changes to the calendar, for instance. If the I.D. BUZZ passes one of the driver’s favorite shops or a favorite restaurant, the car informs the driver via the tablet about the current offerings at these personal points of interest. A new era of interactive and personalized online services is beginning with the I.D. BUZZ.
      Like the compact I.D., the I.D. BUZZ is equipped with an augmented reality head-up display. Information such as navigation directions are projected as virtual images from 23 to 49 feet ahead of the car. The effect is astonishingly realistic. Directions are projected via augmented reality to show exactly where the driver is heading. Thanks to the head-up display, the navigation instructions are now part of three-dimensional surroundings that the driver can experience. Drivers can use the touch-sensitive steering wheel to modify the type and amount of information shown, adapting the system to their individual needs.
      Three levels of information density are available here:
      Level 1: “Navigation,” “Speed” and “Battery indicator” Level 2: Level 1 plus “Phone” (in “Drive” mode) and “Local offerings” (in “I.D. Pilot” mode) Level 3: Levels 1 and 2 plus “Friends” along the route (in “Drive” mode) and “Messages” (in “I.D. Pilot” mode) There are no rearview mirrors in the I.D. BUZZ. Cameras and a display have taken over that function. Where there would normally be a rearview mirror, there is a screen called the e-Mirror. Here, a monitor combines data from the exterior mirror cameras on the left and right of the vehicle and from a camera that faces directly rearward. Doing away with the side mirrors improves the aerodynamics of the vehicle.
      The lighting mood of the interior also changes according to the mode. In “Drive”, illuminated elements are lit in white. When the driver activates “I.D. Pilot”, they switch over to a warm mood color. In addition, the ambient lighting and touch-sensitive steering wheel assume warning and indicator functionality. In “Drive” mode, if the driver wants to change lanes while another vehicle is alongside, a warning signal is shown on the relevant side of the dashpad. This means that the LED warning indicators for the Blind Spot Monitor, which are located in the door mirrors in today’s vehicles, migrate into the interior where they are even more obvious to the driver.
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