Please, forward kindly my observations to the manufacturing or product designer of BMW. I have no idea how to get feedback to the correct team or person in design process, thus writing to blog is the easiest way. I searched for a link ‘feedback’ in the main corporate WWW pages -> not found, so this is the next easiest thing for me to do. Thanks. Hope these find proper use and enable finetuning the details.
“Ice formation in certain parts of the vehicle” is a highly problematic thing in 3 parts of the BMW 3 E47. I made the observations on winter 2018 in Finland, southern part, 60km from Helsinki.
1. driver semi-locked inside the car, feeling as if he cannot get out of the car by opening doors. This happens as result of mechanical driver’s door lock failure due to ice. This is not particular to (ie. not limited to only) driver’s door, may occur in any other doors also with the similar handle design. There’s a 1-3 mm bed of ice accumulation, which makes the internal locking mechanism fail: driver cannot get out of car, even though it seems that doors are already unlocked. Remedy: driver has to somehow get out, either use other doors (not guaranteed they would not also be jammed), or by waiting for something to melt the ice; which is not desirable. May cause panicky feelings in users. When this (1) problem occurs, the internal mechanical handle doesn’t “work” anymore, because the problem is in fact the outside (of car) ice accumulation.
2. gasoline shielding lid does not open, even though car is unlocked (which should unlock also the lid locking). This is again ice forming in wrong place. The flush channel is insufficiently slippery, due to probably either original design (shape), or by the fact that as this is the fuel entry hole, during refuelling the plastic parts next to the fuel hole also get tar / dirt enough to make the part more sticky for water. Thus flush water gets iced, and the unlocking knob inside doesn’t work. Remedy: using force, and a screwdriver, to force open the lid. Remind: this is a time at when fueling is necessary, a critical moment.
3. a nuisance: the back hatch cover (door) doesn’t shut easily, if there is icy formations in the (black plastic) flushing canals. The hatch cover keeps bouncing back open. The problem seems to be made worse by the fact that there’s a energy minimum (form – ie. bending of the canal in design) right in the middle of it, so water does not get flushed properly. Solution proposal: By making the canal different shape, water would more naturally get flushed due to gravity. Now it stays lingering in the canal and is later turned into very thick chunks of ice, which have to be manually removed – and the way the ice usually breaks into pieces, makes the removal rather laborious.