BMW Builds the Car of the 21st Century

According to Sandy Munro, who heads up engineering consultancy Munro & Associates, BMW spent approximately $2.8-billion on developing the i3.

According to Sandy Munro, who heads up engineering consultancy Munro & Associates, BMW spent approximately $2.8-billion on developing the i3.

Munro & Associates spent approximately $2-million taking the i3 apart. Completely apart. Even—in the case of the batteries—to the molecular level.

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This is what the future looks like: BMW i3s at the Port Jersey Vehicle Distribution Center

Munro considers the i3 to be the “watershed.” Every car before it was one thing. Every car after it will be something else. He says that because of the way the carbon-fiber bodied, aluminum framed, electric-powered vehicle is designed, engineered, and produced, it is analogous to, and as consequential as, the Model T.

Because of the disassembly, all the analysis to board level, all of the calculating for costing purposes, Munro finds that the BMW engineers have created not only a vehicle, but process knowledge and capability that is extensible to other vehicles, that should revolutionize the thinking at other OEMs. . .although as he points out in this week’s “Autoline After Hours,” he has found limited interest in the 40,000-page report they have produced as a result of their work by U.S.-based OEMs.

That said, he has had, and continues to have, numerous visits by Chinese car companies.

Unlike most shows, where the guest is on set for 30 minutes, Munro talks to host John McElroy, Lindsay Brooke of Automotive Engineering International and me for the full hour—and then some.

So if you’re interested in composite-intensive vehicles, electric vehicles, automotive benchmarking, automotive design, automotive engineering, or why companies like Munro & Associates are in need of engineers, then this is required viewing: