During the Moscow International Automobile Salon, BMW will showcase its innovative new concept vehicle, the i8 Spyder, its first public showing in Europe. The vehicle is BMW’s third car in its ‘i’ range following on from the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept presented in spring 2012. The sports car will become the first BMW high-technology vehicle brought to Russia.
Like its predecessors, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder has been developed on the basis of the LifeDrive innovative architecture, which combines independent functional modules. Made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), the passenger compartment, or Life module, is extremely lightweight. At the same time, the Drive modules, made primarily with aluminum components, brings together all the steering elements, such as transmission, chassis and safety elements.
According to BMW, the Spyder’s lightweight construction, combined with advanced hybrid technology, gives the BMW i8 Concept Spyder the power of a real race car, with fuel consumption no higher than one would expect from a small car.
The BMW i8 Concept Spyder is equipped with an eDrive hybrid drive train connected to external power sources. A lithium-ion battery supplies the engine with power and can be charged in a very short time from any home electrical socket. The total capacity of the drive system amounts to 260kW (354 hp).
The BMW i vehicles are being watched closely by the composites industry as they represent the first real effort by a major automotive OEM to make extensive use of carbon fiber on a high production car. Earlier this year, we spoke to Dr Joerg Pohlman, Managing Director of SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, the company responsible for producing the huge amount of carbon fiber needed for BMW’s vehicles. We discussed the business case for composites in automotive as well as some of the challenges the material presents from an engineering point of view. See what Dr Pohlman had to say in the video below.