BMW Carbon Fiber Making Body Lighter
Unless you are an owner of an upper high end car, such as a Lambo, Ferrari or Audi R8, you probably don’t have much experience with carbon fiber. If you own a plane, perhaps.
Carbon fiber technologies may be a part of BMW’s answer to the weight issue. (Yes, even cars have to go on a diet) BMW has committed to a carbon fiber body for the MegaCity electric vehicle for 2013. These lighter weight materials are going to be necessary to help offset weight of 96-cell lithium-ion battery packs and other electrical components that an EV requires. They are reported to weigh 50% less than steel but actually have superior strength. BMW reportedly is using a carbon fiber reinforced plastic in the development of the passenger compartment which is designed for passenger protection. “LifeDrive” is the name BMW is using for the 4 seater structure.
If you are one who likes to watch the reality car-build TV programs, you may have seen the labor intensive hand work that goes into the carbon fiber application. So how is this going to work in the assembly line manufacturing processes? Whoaa what about the body repair process?
OK, so there may be a few bugs to work out. But, BMW is convinced that automation for smaller parts and higher volumes will eventually reduce costs. For the time being, the price of carbon fiber materials have come down, too.
One thing we do anticipate, is that the MegaCity will be sold at a premium, and probably at a loss, (until they can sell significant numbers of them). Let’s see where this road leads.