In the mid-1990s, David Foster Wallace wrote Infinite Jest, a massive, 900+ page book that challenges readers to this day. Completing the book is a wonderful reward for the literature lovers who do slog through the book and all its 100 pages of footnotes, but it's not an easy task. We were reminded of this challenge when we came across a series of lengthy videos showing how the BMW i3 is made. The images are clear and pretty, but there is very little narration or on-screen graphics to tell us what is going on. It's most certainly not exciting video we've ever seen – or even close to it – but there is a mesmerizing quality to watching the people and robots (mostly robots, which makes sense) build these cars. BMW started i3 production earlier this month.
All told, the four clips on YouTube add up to 75 minutes (we'll admit to not watching every second) of detail shots of the i3 getting pieced together. Starting with Part One, which is all about the carbon fiber that is made in Moses Lake, WA that is shipped over to Germany for assembly into the i3, as well as battery assembly and the assembly of the drive module. Part Two shows the assembly of the electronic transmission, the electric engine construction and the cockpit and dashboard moulding. Part Three includes the body pressing, assembly, and painting. And, logically, Part Four showcases the final assembly. If you've got the time and the interest, you can find all four parts of the video, produced by Test Driven, below. If you get the howling fantods halfway through, don't blame us. Just watch this to cleanse the palette.