BMW Is Electric

It is our collective and individual responsibility… to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live – Dalai Lama

BMW cars have always been more than just automobiles. They are something like a Swiss Army knife; a finely crafted tool with everything you need for whatever the road throws at you. A BMW is a purpose built machine that you wear like a Robot Man suit, one so technically advanced; you need to be a rocket scientist to understand all its intricacies. To appreciate all that potential and to fully understand why BMW makes their cars this way; all you need to do is drive one.

With the world spiraling into a climate change abyss, and the future of petroleum about as secure as Lindsey Lohans next movie role, everyone is turning to greener vehicles. Hybrids and electric cars are no longer trendy toys, but have become a necessary and important cornerstone in the plan for freedom from oil. Once limited by bad technology and a microscopic range, the electric car is being reborn as a viable alternative to the beloved internal combustion engine. BMW has joined the fray with not just a new car, but an entire new car line. The BMW i8 Concept is the one of the first of a group of cars being produced by BMW i, a new sub-brand for the commercialization of low-emission (green) vehicles.

Along with the i8, BMW plans to introduce a convertible roadster version called the i8 Spyder, as well as a small electric hatchback called the i3. The i8 hybrid electric vehicles are designed to combine the sportiness of regular BMW cars, with the fuel economy of a small car. The design features a new BMW Vision Efficient Dynamic Concept which is an innovative plug-in hybrid that combines the modified electric drive system of the i3 Concept. The electric motor is fitted over the front axle with a rear mounted high performance three-cylinder combustion engine to extend range. The engine will act as an on-board generator and BMW promises acceleration of 0-62MPH in less than 5 seconds, along with an estimated 86MPG.

Key to this configuration is torque, which is available from a standing start and will give uninterrupted acceleration. The battery technology is based on ultra-powerful lithium-ion cells with an integrated liquid cooling system for ideal operating temperatures. The car can be charged from a domestic power supply system, and can drive 20+ miles on battery power alone. The architecture is known as LifeDrive, and is basically a weight-efficient layered approach to car design. The lower layer is the Drive section, which encompasses the chassis, battery array, powertrain, suspension, steering and brakes. The upper layer is the Life section, which is a carbon fiber reinforced plastic passenger cell. This is the first time carbon fiber is being used on a mass-market vehicle, and was developed here in the United States. The two sections are joined by just four bolts and industrial grade adhesive. Using this setup, BMW promises a low center of gravity, perfect 50/50 weight distribution and amazing handling.

The i8 is amazingly beautiful, with sweeping lines and a flat silhouette. It features a large transparent greenhouse (though I doubt the production version will remain unchanged) with doors that swing upwards like wings. The car is sculptural and organic, with a distinctive kinetic wedge shape and a forward-surging stance. From the front, the car has typical BMW design cues which are augmented by two U-shaped full-LED light configurations. There is also a black semi-transparent V that rises from the hood and offers a glimpse of the electric motor and carbon fiber Life cell. In the back there are three-dimensional air outlets, a massive rear diffuser and “floating” tail lights that match the U-shape headlights. Both the headlights and tail lights pulse like the heart of some futuristic monster and the effect is jaw-dropping.

Inside the i8 are large transparent surfaces in the doors and roof which gives each section of the car the appearance of merging together. The interior is finished in a layered design with a Porcelain White support structure, a black technical level and a comfort section finished in Mocha Brown. The effect is modern and comforting at the same time, and the dashboard and center console is clean of excessive buttons and switches. The instrument cluster is made up of a large display with information delivered in a three-dimensional high-resolution format. There is also a center mounted freestanding information display. The i8 is expected to be priced about $122,000 USD. Production is expected to start sometime in 2014.

Article Courtesy of Chris Raymond

Basic Wheel Concepts: Guide in Buying Replacement Car Wheels

Wheels are among the most vital parts in the car. They are the

ones that keep it moving and thus, they are indispensable in a

vehicle. The size and the quality of the wheels significantly

affect your ride quality and handling so always make sure they

are in perfect shape and condition. Taking care of them is a

must so as not to sacrifice your vehicle’s performance. They

also need special attention since they are closest to the road;

hence, they are exposed to a lot corrosion-causing elements.

Aside from contributing to ride quality and handling abilities,

the wheels can also make the car look better and a lot

sportier. People have always been concerned with how their

vehicles should look and thus they replace or customize some of

the parts to make it different from the rest on the road. The

wheels are among those that are often replaced to achieve their

desired appearance. Accessories are also added to the wheels,

such as the hub caps and wheels covers. These auto accessories

are designed to match the user’s various driving needs and

moods.

In buying replacement wheels

for your car, there are important things you need to know,

especially if you are new to driving. You cannot just choose

any kind of wheel in lieu of the original wheel of your car.

There are different wheel specifications for every kind of

vehicle and car model since suspension design varies from one

vehicle to another. Take note that the wheels work hand in hand

with the suspension system whose job is to keep the tires in

tight contact with the road as the vehicle turns, brakes or is

driven down the road without sacrificing comfort of the

passengers.

Three aspects of the wheels are relevant to the suspension

design: wheel offset, aspect ratio, and tire width. All these

should be considered in choosing the best replacement wheels

for your vehicle.

Offset refers to the distance from the very center of the wheel

to the mounting surface of the wheel disc at the hub. Wheel

offset can be positive, negative or zero. A “0” offset means

that the mounting surface of the wheel is in the center of the

wheel. This measurement is very important in positioning the

tire. This also provides for adequate dual spacing.

Aspect ratio is the ratio between the width of the tire and the

height of its side wall. A tire specified as “205/60/15” for

example, has a width of 205mm and 60% aspect ratio. The “15”

refers to the size of the wheel to which it is fitted. You

shouldn’t buy wheels or tires with lower aspect ratio than what

is required because this will wear them out easily as ride

quality will deteriorate. However, this could also result to

more precision in turning.

You might be thinking of getting wider wheels to give your car

a racing car look. Better think about this again. While is it

true that wider wheels and tires can give your car a chunk of

gutsy looks, they can also ruin your driving satisfaction. This

is because the weight of the vehicle would not be evenly spread

over the wheel and tire width. Resistance is also increased,

thus you wheels and tires could wear out fast.

If you want to know more about car wheels, you can search for

car enthusiasts’ sites that feature different kinds of wheels

or go to the car manufacturer’s site and check out your car

model’s wheel specifications.

The Fourvette Concept Corvette

Every so often the powers that be at GM come up with a Corvette notion that is four doors and family friendly. The very perception is enough to make even the strongest stomach Corvette fanatic sick, but low and behold the Fourvette is born.

This time the notion of a four door Corvette is more than just words and GM has actually made a concept car version of what the production Fourvette might look like. Hopefully this is as far as the Fourvette goes, but it certainly isn’t the end of the sickness you will feel in the pit of your stomach when you hear the next tid bit of info on the Fourvette.

In addition to the four doors, the Fourvette will include a six cylinder engine. This is supposedly to market to the women of America, but if they can drive the big soccer mom V8 SUVs, why can’t they drive a V8 Corvette? A more fitting question is why they are even considering such a vehicle?

Here’s the problem. Last year Porsche came out with a four door called the Panamera and although it looks like a stretched out turtle, the sales are unbelievable. So unbelievable that GM is thinking of following suit. However, the birth of the Fourvette could be the death of the Corvette.

Owning a Corvette has always been something that you do as a reward for yourself. You don’t buy a Vette so that you can load up the kids and take them to soccer practice right before you go to the grocery store. In fact the mere sight of a baby seat inside a Corvette would be enough to put you into exile with your Corvette club.

Now it seems that GM may want to curb all that the Corvette has come to be in it’s almost 60 years of existence and redefine it as a family car. So the great American icon will become the greater family icon? Not to say that women can’t own Corvettes, but why does the Corvette have to be four doors and six cylinders?

Hopefully this is as far as it goes and perhaps GM is only doing this to gain a little bit of notoriety and some publicity. The last time that a four door Corvette went to concept was back in 1963 and if not for the pictures of that four door Corvette, no one would have believed the story. While it is up for debate as to why that model never made it to the production line, the fact remains that it never made it to the production line.

In 1963 GM was wise enough back then to destroy that version of the four door Corvette and say, “What four door, we don’t have any four door,” so hopefully they will be just as wise with the Fourvette. While the name is nifty, the notion of an actual four door Corvette being put into production is anything but. While a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture of the Fourvette is only worth three; no thank you.