Watch a BMW i3 Get Built from Start to Finish
While most cars on the road start out as sheets of coiled steel or aluminum, the BMW i3 starts out as sheets of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic. In this fascinating video, we go inside the Leipzig, Germany factory where the i3 is manufactured to see how this innovative modern electric vehicle is built from scratch.
Like most automakers today, robots play a large part in the process, though skilled human workers help guide certain parts of the process, often bringing subassemblies together. If you think you know how cars are built, this video will be eye-opening, as the production process is quite different than traditional steel or aluminum construction methods.
Throughout the process, you’ll see mysterious blocks of aluminum and layers of modern composite materials being heated, bent, glued and wired together, and nary an engine, transmission or traditional chassis along the way. The part where the battery pack is assembled is especially unexpected. It looks almost like a giant hard drive or computer equipment, and not part of a vehicle.
In fact, it’s not until about 24 minutes in – when the body structure comes together – that you’d know they were building a car at all.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can read about BMW’s innovative manufacturing process at Composites World, and if you’d like to see how the carbon fiber itself is woven, watch the first few minutes of the video below: