BMW’s copious use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the i3’s construction not only produces a lighter car, but makes the panels and other parts very easy to repurpose. The other aluminium bits, too, are very recyclable, such as its chassis and wheels. This considered approach that the German automaker has taken is something that should be common practice for all cars going forward. More and more parts need to be recyclable across every manufacturer to lessen our dependencies on ore mining. And given how much metal the automotive industry uses, steady progress goes a long way.
The video shows that the car’s various explosive components, the front and side airbags, being dealt with first. Then it’s on to the battery, the various electronics and the comparatively fragile and material-rich cell housings are safely handled in their own way off camera.
Next, off come the doors and extracting the CFRP panels and reprocessing (shredding) them into pliable mats that can reused. From there, the mats can find new life in other BMW i3s or other models. I’m sure they would want to take as much material and manufacturing know-how they’ve learned here and apply it into their more mainstream cars like the 3-Series and 5-Series.
Kudos to BMW for not only breaking new ground with their innovative ‘i’ models of forward-looking vehicles, but manufacturing these new class of vehicles with sustainability as a top-tier priority.
Video by TestDriven