August 5th, 2014

Carbon fiber, after beta testing, battery charging, etc.

I forget precisely where I saw the observation, probably, but someone pointed out, possibly in a comment thread, that one of the most brilliant aspects of the i3 is that BMW used it as an opportunity to figure out how to build a car out of carbon fiber. They can later roll out carbon fiber throughout the rest of their vehicle line, which includes gasoline and diesel ICE, hybrids and will shortly include plug in hybrids. As Boston Consulting Group's papers noted, automakers who aim to meet emission standards in coming years, will have to lightweight and otherwise improve the efficiency of ICE vehicles, in addition to making and selling HEV, PHEV, BEV, etc. Kinda cool to get people with more money than sense to help finance the final testing of a new (to this category) building material. They (and the rest of the world) get to see the results of our inevitable fender benders and outright crashes, and how carbon fiber behaves in the real world, before building, say, the 3 series out of it.

I had not realized until the last couple of days that the reason for the 80% charge on DC fast charging was to preserve battery performance, and that was driven by a belief that DC fast charging inevitably degraded batteries. Turns out that might not actually be completely true.

If DC fast charging isn't that damaging (25% loss after 40K vs. 23% using level 2 charging), perhaps DC fast charging protocols will be adjusted to get closer to a full charge.