Originally Posted by Lowest_Frequency
I doubt the frame will ever be carbon fiber simply based on what you just said. Frame damage would be near impossible to repair. They'd simply add cfrp to everything beyond the frame
As far as I am aware, the entire body shell of the i3 is CFRP. Just like with most modern automobiles, there is no frame per se - it is a unibody design. Although there are still subframes and such which will no doubt be constructed largely from aluminum and other materials.
It seems to me that repair (and costs involved) are probably a very real concern with these new carbon fiber vehicles. Obviously you can't weld carbon fiber like you can steel or aluminum. Furthermore, part of what gives carbon fiber its strength is that the individual fibers are continuous over the entire expanse of the weave. If they are cut, I don't know how feasible it is to simply patch them back together in a way that maintains the strength and rigidity of the original part. I'm sure BMW has put a lot of reasearch into this, and has provisions for some of the issues repair will present. But at the same time, I'll bet that will take much, much less damage for a CFRP vehicle to be considered "totalled", than a traditional steel-based vehicle. While carbon fiber body panels can be replaced similar to how their steel counterparts are, if the damage goes more than "skin-deep" and the structural integrity of the body shell is compromised, it would seem that the car is a lost cause. Of course, they can salvage all the good parts (I don; think we can expect to see many i3s sitting in a junk yard) and use them to patch together another vehicle. But this will be costly to do. Even if they do come up with a system to recycle the parts in this manner, its obviously not something that just any old repair shop is going to be able to handle. For that matter, that goes for just about any repairs to a carbon fiber vehicle - they will need a network of specialty shops to do the work.