Firefighting teams in Germany have been putting the carbon fibre composite cell of the BMW i3 to the test to see how good it is when passengers must be freed after an accident.
The test which was conducted by the ADAC and regional fire departments has shown that since composite materials behave differently than metals, new challenges face rescue teams.
Carbon material behaves quite differently than conventional steel structures which would deform when using the specialist cutting equipment, carbon fibre on the other hand breaks and shatters releasing dust and debris into the air, which means both emergency personnel and the occupants have to wear protective face masks.
The electric drivetrain also plays an important role during rescue operations since it brings the potential risk of high-voltage discharge. The safety team need to know where the high-voltage isolator is located and cut the power to the car.
The car has been put through many rigours tests by BMW and received 4 out of five stars in the European NCAP crash tests, if anything this demonstration by ADAC proves that people driving cars made from carbon can be saved just as quickly as those driving cars made using conventional materials.[Source: Bimmertoday]