I am going to be going in to a deep analysis of the new BMW i series which is BMW’s new electric powered cars series. As that they aren’t really the only ones who thought of the idea they kind of have made the series even more sustainable by the materials they used to create these models.

As we all know vehicles are a major source of emissions. They affect the air quality in large cities and contribute to global warming. In the UK alone cars and vans produce about 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions and 5% of the particulates in the air. Cleaner vehicles must therefore be more sustainable, or is this necessarily the case? Most private cars in the UK run on petrol. The graph bellow compares the emissions from petrol cars and electric cars using electricity generated in conventional power stations.


Overall, there are less emissions from electric cars. This could help to reduce Global Warming and also improve the Air quality in our cities.


An ‘Eco Points’ rating has shown that electric cars would produce only a third of the pollution that petrol cars make which is a huge statement, but does it cost more to actually manufacture these electric cars and do we have enough electricity to keep these things running? This would mean for us to produce and lay way more energy resources such as wind turbines and solar panels, maybe placing solar panels onto the cars themselves.

Moving on to the BMW i8 I am going to be looking in to how it may have been made, what different materials where involved, what will happen when it is out of use and how i might consider changing the affect people use this object.

How do I think this was made?

After doing some research into their website about their new BMW I have found that “The aim of developing the BMW i cars is not simply to build emission-free cars, but also to use the maximum possible amount of sustainably produced and recycled materials – especially inside. The interior of the BMW i3 sets a new standard here and makes sustainability tangible.” I managed to find a video on the assembling of the the product below.

The process is mostly man powered instead of mostly machinery being programmed to put things together. I believe the material used is all recycled by a machine then manually crafted into sheets that fit the model.

What different kinds of materials and processes were involved?

Natural, renewable, and sustainable: the interior of the BMW i3 features door trim panels and a dashboard made from renewable natural fibres, naturally tanned leather, and open-pore eucalyptus wood sourced from 100 % FSC®-certified forestry. Overall, 25 % renewable raw materials and recycled plastics were used in the interior of the BMW i3. The textile upholsteries are made of up to 100 % recycled polyster, produced using 34 % PET. A further 25 % recycled plastics are used in the exterior.”


For the frames on the model they say they use Carbon fibre which can be recycled but is more looked upon as down-cycling. “Like when paper is recycled, the resulting fibers get shorter and shorter, and this reduces the strength of the recycled composite material. They are still usable, but not for all the same applications (e.g. aircraft structure) as the original material.”


“BMW i is revolutionising automotive engineering with the first series-produced passenger cells made of carbon, components from BMW EfficientDynamics lightweight construction technology. Carbon is around 50 % lighter than steel and around 30 % lighter than aluminium, allowing BMW i to set new standards in lightweight construction while also completely offsetting the additional weight resulting from the high-voltage lithium-ion battery. At the same time, carbon is a high-tensile material that can be used in a versatile manner for construction purposes and increases the safety of all vehicle occupants.

Series production

The manufacture of the BMW i3 is the first time that the high-tech material carbon has ever been used for the large-scale series production of a vehicle. The use of carbon was limited for a long time as it had to be manually produced. However, after ten years of intensive research and development, the BMW Group now collaborates with SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers to produce the carbon fibres and carbon fibre plates themselves, and has now made large-scale series production in automotive engineering possible.”

Ref: http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/corporation/bmwi/concept.html


From the previous question I had already found out the processes that were involved.

What manufacturing decisions would the designer have had to consider? What will happen to it once the user no longer has use for it? 

The decisions would consist of maybe if they should use machinery to create the models or to just use man power or maybe mix it up like they have. They’d also have to had to test all of the materials on how sustainable they are and how they’d work well with different scenarios. Obviously after the user has finished with using it they can then go on to selling it to another person and if the car gets written off then most parts of it can always be recycled.

Might there be other ways to make the object? Could I substitute materials or manufacturing processes, or make it completely differently? How far could I change these without changing the thing itself? 

Maybe putting solar panels onto of the car to make it rely a little more on nature to run, also it may be good to install some kind of miniature wind turbine to bring in power because if you think about it while moving it will bring movement to the wind turbine depending on how fast the user is going.

How might my changers affect the way people use this object? 

If I made the car rely on just natural resources it would limit users more on how much they can drive, nowadays people drive about to get anywhere even if the destination is only a ten minute walk which is making us an extremely lazy race. People may drive less and see driving more as an award to keeping fit which could connect to a fitness point system?