BMW Sweeps Green And Technology Awards
BMW is having a great year in the green car department, taking both the Green Car of the Year and Auto Tech of the Year as well as Top Gear’s Car of the Year award.
In many cases, when automakers produce electric vehicles, they simply swap out the powertrain of an existing vehicle, stuffing an electric motor into a gasoline-powered car. This was the case with the production of the Volkswagen e-Golf, Ford Focus Electric, and the Smart Electric Drive. Not so with BMW, who has taken a ground-up approach in the development of their i3 electric car and i8 hybrid supercar and award judges seem to agree. The i3 just took Green Journal’s 2015 Green Car of the Year and the i8 won Autoblog’s Technology of the Year award.
Thanks to it’s 124 (combined) miles per gallon, BMW’s i3 has now become the benchmark against which all other electric vehicles are measured. The i8, a plug-in hybrid, comes close to the Tesla Model S, with an electric range of 15 miles and 76 miles per gallon. Much of this was achieved by the use of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP)and aluminum to reduce the weight of the vehicles.
Carbon fibre is expensive, which is why we rarely find it used in production vehicles. BMW decided to open it’s own carbon fibre production plant to reduce costs so that lighter vehicles can make their way into the hands of more people. The plant runs on renewable energy, and boasts an efficient cycle of material recycling, one that runs from construction to post-consumer level. All of these factors contribute to BMW’s ability to run a green company.
Beating the Audi A3 TDI, Honda Fit, Volkswagen Golf and the Chevy Impala bi-fuel vehicle, the i3 was praised for both it’s efficiency and BMW’s commitment to sustainability throughout the production process.
The i8 can credit it’s win to beating out the Corvette and Ford on the technology front. Judges determined that the car’s interplay of technology was superior to either the Corvette’s performance data recorder or Ford’s 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine. Instead, the i8’s total package of carbon fibre body, 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, great exhaust note and head-turning frame and doors, scored it major points.
When awarding the i8 the Top Gear Car of the Year award, Top Gear magazine’s editor-in-chief, Charlie Turner said “The BMW is a milestone in the annals of the automotive history and a glorious statement for an exciting and positive future. It’s the kind of car we should celebrate, a beautiful vision of the future, delivered now.”
Thanks to strict regulations, corporate responsibility and general concern for the environment, every automaker is looking to improve the efficiency of their vehicles. BMW definitely took things to a whole new level with it’s i Series cars. This focused and long-term strategy will be a game changer in the automotive industry in the future, but for now, it’s earning important awards that competitors will envy.
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca