As a fellow vehicle rescue instructor, I always want you to be aware of new, interesting and important vehicle technology changes that are taking place among automobile manufacturers. That’s why I send out these update newsletters. This time we look at a few unique features on the brand new, 2015 BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid super car.
The 2015 BMW i8 is a $136,000 two-seater that is now being offered for sale in BMW dealerships around the country. As impressive as it looks on the outside, we need to take a look at several features that are drastic changes and represent future challenges for us as instructors and responders. I’ve already seen two of these on the streets in the city where I live (Plano, TX) so they’re out there.
Both doors on the i8 open upward. One part of the door latch is in the normal location along the B-pillar. You can see the loop of the latch in this image on the B-pillar. The receiver part ion of the door latch is also where you would expect, along the edge of the door.
The door hinges however, aren’t where we would expect them. As the door latch releases and the door opens, the large pressurized strut that you can see here helps the door open out and up. When fully open, this long door is actually suspended in the air; right above where you might be working with an injured patient.
Also, note the massive rocker. It is huge and very tall. I assure you, it is the widest rocker we have ever encountered on a production vehicle. Oh, by the way. The entire ‘tub’ that makes up the occupant area isn’t steel; it’s carbon fiber.
Swan-Wing Door Hinges & Lifter Strut
Here you get a better look at the huge door hinge & lifter assembly. Note that the door hinges are actually mounted on the A-pillar but not where you expect. They are mounted along the A-pillar above the dash level. The pressurized lifter strut is also shown holding the door open.
So, in this first look at the i8, we see a production model plug-in-hybrid with a challenging door design and a carbon fiber vehicle ‘tub’ surrounding the occupants. With the doors closed, it tops out at 155mph, they say, so I’m sure we’ll never have any incidents to worry about. Yeah right! More to follow….