BMW i3 Crashes Into Tree – Passenger Compartment Appears Untouched

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 55

BMW i3 Crashes Into Tree

BMW i3 Crashes Into Tree

Only a few details linked to this crash are available.

A BMW i3 reportedly took a turn at a high rate of speed and hit in a tree in Jacksonville, Florida.

Of note is that the front windshield is still intact and that the passenger compartment appears untouched.

We do hope the occupants are okay, but as of now we don’t have any information on the status of the individual(s) within the i3 at the time of the wreck.

Some i3 owners carry additional gas in containers placed in the frunk of the i3. This image should show those owners how unsafe that practice could be.

Source: WreckedExotics

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55 responses to "BMW i3 Crashes Into Tree – Passenger Compartment Appears Untouched"

  1. jelloslug says:

    Even on a car with a short nose like the i3, the extra crumple zone in the front you get by not having a drivetrain up front is a huge safety benefit.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Yeah, no big ICE to get driven into the passenger compartment.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        sort of…

        Just about all ICE cars have collapse/breakaway engine mounts that would drop the engine during a frontal collision to prevent engine from penatrating the cabin.

  2. David Murray says:

    I’d be interested to know how fast it was going at impact.

    1. EVcarNut says:

      7 MPH

      1. Fabian says:


  3. Nelson says:

    Anyone remember the link to the video comparison of menuverability on wet/slippery road conditions? As I recall the i3 did not do so well.

    NPNS! SBF!

    1. Josh says:

      That came to mind also. I grew up in Florida and flash flood type rain can come on very quickly. I had some scary moments in my S2000 there.

      1. sven says:

        The S2000 was/is a fun car for an ICE vehicle.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          I had an S2000 too. Great fun car. The roar of that VTEC kicking in was cool. But I’m done with ICE.

          Someone needs to make a nice EV like the S2000, Miata, etc. I wish BMW would build that MINI Superleggera Vision car.

    2. James says:

      Actually, thin tires are much preferable in rain and much, much less susceptible to hydroplaning.

      1. jelloslug says:

        I have noticed in my i3 that deep standing water has almost no effect on the stability of the car. You can barely even feel it in the steering wheel

  4. Josh says:

    It looks like they caught the i3 right in the middle of Transforming…

    In all seriousness, I hope the driver and possible passengers are ok. The crash structure seemed to do an outstanding job. And it looks as if the driver airbag did deploy (look next to the A pillar). The dynamic properties of carbon are amazing, likely saving the windshield.

  5. Cavaron says:

    Damn those trees. They tend to jump right in front of your car these days…

    Fun aside – glad no one got hurt.

  6. sven says:

    I would have thought the injection molded thermoplastic hood would have cracked when bent that much.

    Good job BMW engineering.

    1. jelloslug says:

      If they shut the doors and blow into the charging port really hard it should pop back out.

      1. EVcarNut says:

        That is Toooo Funnny! L M A O’re the 0nly Peron on this blog with a sense of Humour .. cheers!

  7. 3laine says:

    FYI, someone on the i3 FB group who works for BMW in FL claimed that the owners were his clients and are fine.

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks for passing that along, good to hear.

  8. SparkEV says:

    Without knowing the speed, it’s hard to draw any conclusion on safety of i3. My old geo metro probably would’ve sustained just as much damage at 15 mph.

  9. James says:

    It’s amazing that the windshield is intact. I’ve been looking at the i3 as a replacement for my Volt, and this is a great sales photo.

    Anyone know how far forward the battery compartment sits?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      The i3 battery pack is a flat layer under the floor, just as in the Tesla Model S.

  10. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I hope everyone in the car is okay, glad to see the passenger compartment is intact. No offense to BMW drivers, but…

    This reminds me of a collection someone made of what drivers wrote down on insurance claim forms, explaining what caused the accident. One of them read: “I was driving along, minding my own business, when a tree suddenly jumped out in front of my car.”

    1. SparkEV says:

      LOL! Pupu, I didn’t think you had any sense of humor from some of your posts, but glad to see you got it. Keep it up! 🙂

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      ““I was driving along, minding my own business, when a tree suddenly jumped out in front of my car.””

      I have heard about this jokes many time before.

      But I still laughed when I read this. It is a good joke that doesn’t get old. =)

  11. pjwood1 says:

    Question is, how slow can you crash and still total a carbon frame?

    You thought fixing aluminum was tough?

    1. Well, it’s CFRP, but I’m not sure how different that is from a traditional carbon chassis. I’d guess the carbon content is much lower and as evidenced, the material is quite flexible.

    2. sven says:

      BMW designed the i3’s carbon fiber frame to be easy to fix after an accident. With BMW’s carbon fiber frame, the body shop just cuts out the damaged part of the CF frame and bonds (glues?) one of BMW’s prefabricated replacement frame pieces made by BMW specifically for frame repair.

      1. sven says:

        The carbon fiber repair process was detailed in an InsideEvs article:

        “Carbon Fiber Body: This is where repair techniques change significantly from standard cars. There is no pounding out damaged CFRP. In order to repair the i3, the damaged section will need to be cut out at one of the predefined points. These are located at the top of the A, B, C pillars as well as forward and aft of the floor pan.”

        “BMW requires a specialized cutting device that looks part bone saw on the business end and part Dr Who Villain, a Dalek, to vacuum up the carbon fiber particles. Once the carbon fiber body has dis-articulated at the very specific points, the technician then places the new section on and bonds/glues it back together.”

        “This is where my favorite part of the tour came. ‘This isn’t very complicated but it needs to be very precise,” says a BMW technician. He further added that the time it will take to repair i3 electric vehicles will actually be less than standard cars and thus decreased labor costs with auto repair.'”

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:


          Does anyone actually have real world labor and parts quote? Does it have to be performed at specialized shops?

          I am interested to see how it compares.

  12. Speculawyer says:

    Wow. Great design of the crumple zone, BMW! Very well done.

  13. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “A BMW i3 reportedly took a turn at a high rate of speed and hit in a tree in Jacksonville, Florida.”

    LOL. So much for “ultimate driving machine”.

    I guess BMW aren’t known for handling anymore these days since Cadillac V series are eating its launch on handling.

    I am glad that occupant is okay.

    But it is hard to “judge” the safety without knowing the speed of which the car struck the tree.

    Just because it was caused by a high speed turn, it doesn’t mean the speed at the impact is high…

    1. 3laine says:

      How could you possibly come to a conclusion about the cars handling without knowing anything about the turn or the speed at which it was taken?

      Concluding that BMWs don’t handle well based on this is like concluding that Porsches don’t handle well because Paul Walker’s friend hit a tree in the Porsche Carrera GT.

      Baseless BMW bashing again. What’s new?

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Apparently, it was too fast for the “BMW driver” to handle or the car to handle.

        “Concluding that BMWs don’t handle well” That is based on many of the recent reviews of how BMW handles against other cars such as Cadillac V series.

        Now, I never said it doesn’t handle well anymore. I said “BMW aren’t known for handling anymore”. So, please don’t make up stuff that I never said.

        “Porsches don’t handle well because Paul Walker’s friend hit a tree in the Porsche Carrera GT”

        LOL. Apparently it wasn’t good enough to prevent the crash. Maybe it should have driver’s aid to realize that driver is an idiot and prevent the crash.

        “Baseless BMW bashing again. What’s new?”

        LOL. I actually love BMW and has defended it many times in the past against criticism. I guess you can’t handle a small jab sometimes?

        1. 3laine says:

          You clearly implied that the car doesn’t handle well by saying “so much for the ultimate driving machine” without having any information about the accident whatsoever. Say what you will, but that is the definition of baseless bashing.

          Can’t blame the Porsche accident on the car, either. If you don’t know the limits of the car and stay within them, whose fault is that?

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “You clearly implied that the car doesn’t handle well by saying “so much for the ultimate driving machine””

            I didn’t imply it wasn’t good. I just implied that it doesn’t fit the “ultimate driving machine” description or the so called “benchmark on handling”.

            Are you saying that i3 still deserves “handling benchmark”?

            Yes, I agree that any “idiots” can over power the capabilities of the car.

            1. 3laine says:

              It’s the most efficient production car in the world, so if you’re comparing it to other comparable cars, it does have pretty good driving dynamics.

              That said, it’s no M3… Or ATS-V 🙂

      2. ffbj says:

        This particular Bmw is not known for its great handling. I suppose it is the skinny tires.
        Anyway it did perform well when the actual accident occurred. So I would give it a 60% 40% split. Mostly the drivers fault and partially the less than pristine handling the car gives you at turning speeds it was not designed to handle. Really sucks in wet conditions btw.

        1. John McLaughlin says:

          Actually we have an i3 and it handles like a train on tracks. I’m actually impressed how well it handles. Especially with the thin tires. Seems to do rain just fine as well. Our only concern living here up in the North East is how well it will handle in the snow. We put snow tires on it but still concerned with the rear wheel drive. As for this example as to whether the car did well in this crash. It would all depend on the speed.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “Actually we have an i3 and it handles like a train on tracks.”

            Well, train derails on tracks all the time when it goes fast around the corner.

            So, that description isn’t really a good one anymore. =)

        2. ModernMarvelFan says:

          Well, it is still better than a Prius.

          I don’t think it is bad. It is just not up to the typical “benchmark” standard that BMW is known for.

          Now, that is a double edge sword. Sports cars that are known to have good handlings are also more likely to get “bad drivers” into trouble because they falsely assume the car is good so they “push it harder” or beyond their own ability or car’s ability.

          Nobody is going to push hard on a Prius in cornering because they know it sucks, therefore it reduces the chance that “bad drivers” would push it hard.

          Cars such as BMW/Porsche/Audi/Corvette/Mustang/Camaro are just “encouraging” drivers to push it beyond the handling capabilities of the car.

          1. John McLaughlin says:

            I don’t know about that my friend. All I can tell you is we love the car. This is our second EV. If you are actually interested in buying one take one on an extended 3 day test drive and see for your self. Its actually a very fun car to drive just like any other BMW I ever drove, very quick 0-60, handles very precise, no over steer no under steer just flat in the corners (Careful with the new rubber, I did not push her till she had at least 1,000 miles on the odo). I assume thats because of the location of the battery but this car actually impresses and does not fall flat when comparing to other BMWs.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              I have driven it and it is a good car (beside a good EV). But I wouldn’t call its handling “great”. It is certainly way better than many other EVs, but that is not a high bar.

      3. EVcarNut says:

        0r., maybe someone got their driver permit from the bottom of a cracker jack box….

  14. tom911 says:

    The i3 wanted to hug a tree – badly?

    1. EVcarnut says:

      Yea ,Hug A tinsy winsy little tree ,about the size of an average human arm….

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        You noticed that too? If it really was a tree, then it was a rather small one, and I find it surprising it did that much damage to the car before breaking.

        I wonder if it was a metal pole which was hit, and not a tree, despite the report.

  15. EVcarnut says:

    Bla Bla Bla The car is a Tin Foil Death trap…I know how things Work, That car just Crumbles toooo easily at very low speed Impacts..Did the air bags go 0ff??? I dont think so! That would make it that much more Unsafe, and , a for sure death, at higher more risky speeds! So there you have it!

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      That is a good point.

      Airbag typically deploy at 25mph or higher on frontal crashes.

      If it doesn’t deploy, then it means the speed wasn’t that high which implies this will be an expensive repair for “relative low speed crash”.

      1. EVcarNut says:

        Thank You For bringing that to Light. You’ve Made A Very Good Point!…….

    2. 3laine says:

      The guy on the i3 FB page who knows the owners and confirmed they’re fine also confirmed that the airbags *did* deploy, because people on the i3 group asked the same question.

      1. 3laine says:

        Also, if you look at the picture, the passenger side airbag flap is clearly popped up from airbag deployment.

      2. Nick says:

        Wah!? Uninformed commentary on an Internet forum?


        Thanks for reporting your findings.

        1. 3laine says:

          Yeah, what’s new? Haha

          Of course, no response from the troll even though he’s posted on this story AFTER his baseless theory was shown to be false (again). No surprise there, either.