Plastic Auto Parts: BMW i3 Tour of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics Body in White and Crumple Zone Physics

The automotive industry continues to embrace sustainability and plastic and polymer composite lightweighting to increase fuel efficiency. Several new and exciting safety and performance developments have arisen—many from BMW. In this exclusive video, Franz Storkenmaier, BMW Group’s Head of Lightweight Construction & Vehicle Weight division highlights automotive lightweighting and the dynamic front-end vectoring technology of the crumple zone used in the fully electric BMW i3. Plastic and polymer composite lightweighting is essential for electric and more traditional powertrains to reach new rising fuel-efficiency goals. 

This i3, a car of the future, but made today, makes novel use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics in its body. The chassis features a unique carbon fiber plastic composite crash structure with a dye-cast energy distributor. Lightweight honeycomb plastic safety energy absorbers help reduce front crash pressure. BMW also makes innovative use of multi-material assembly techniques with the inclusion of a soft plastic “bottoming-out” shock-absorber prevention-pad and a plastic energy absorbing bumper/aluminum combo mount. The lightweighting of the entire Body in White (BIW) in this case, introduced by the BMW i3 lend it the platform flexibility and efficiency expected of a car of tomorrow.

» Vehicle Lightweighting Maintains Safety

» Plastics and Polymer Composites in Light Vehicles Report (July 2016)

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