Print 21 comment(s) - last by tygrus.. on Feb 25 at 8:09 PM

BMW is a year or two form production on these wheels

According to a new report, BMW is gearing up to produce wheels for its performance vehicles that are made of carbon fiber. BMW won’t be the first company to make wheels out of carbon fiber, but will be the first automaker to make its own carbon fiber wheels for its automobiles.
The carbon fiber wheels will be both stronger and lighter than conventional alloy wheels, which in turn will improve fuel efficiency and performance. Carbon fiber is 30% lighter than aluminum and 50% lighter than steel. The wheels would be a good way to reduce the weight of cars that are getting heavier thanks to the addition of hybrid technology and battery packs.

The BMW i3 and i8 heavily use carbon fiber in their designs. But in flash of brilliance, BMW will use the waste carbon fiber from those two vehicles to make the wheels for its other cars.
“Carbon fiber is an expensive material to work with, but if you are using production waste then it’s a different cost structure from working up raw carbon fiber,” BMW lightweight construction manager Franz Storkenmaier told Auto Express. “It’s cheap, and that’s how we can position it as a competitor to magnesium.”
BMW is said to be a year or two away from entering production on the new carbon fiber wheels. Other items that BMW is considering making from carbon fiber include a full carbon fiber steering wheel and a one-piece carbon fiber driveshaft for the X5.

BMW has also developed a carbon fiber and alloy hybrid wheel that features alloy spokes and a carbon fiber rim. 

Sources: Automobile Mag, AutoExpress

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By inperfectdarkness on 2/24/2014 9:39:13 AM , Rating: 2
Dear BMW,

Curb rash on a wheel is the end of the line for these. I'll stick with aluminum ones, thanks.

By lagomorpha on 2/24/2014 10:10:15 AM , Rating: 3
I kind of get the impression these are only going to be a common option on the already expensive and stiff sprung 'M' cars.

If you like track days and have a lot of money losing a significant amount of unsprung weight is always nice. The parts that are good for city driving aren't always the best for the track and vice versa.

By Spuke on 2/24/2014 12:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
X2, these will more than likely be stock on the M cars and maybe an option on M Sport package cars.

By Jeffk464 on 2/24/2014 10:22:47 AM , Rating: 2
Curb rash plus getting them gouged at the tire shop. They make engineering sense but I don't think I would want them.

By Jeffk464 on 2/24/2014 6:24:09 PM , Rating: 2
The dealership I worked at wouldn't mount/balance tires on cars with expensive aftermarket rims. There is not much money in it with the possibility of being responsible for a lot of money in damages.

By Brandon Hill on 2/24/2014 10:23:35 AM , Rating: 2
Time to bring back curb feelers :)

By lagomorpha on 2/24/2014 10:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
Knowing the Germans they'll probably implement some sort of curb-sensing side cameras that warns you if you're too close and also wire it up to the automatic parking system.

Because curb feelers would be vulgar.

By Samus on 2/24/2014 10:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
BMW 5-series have had curb sensors and "parking-mode" mirrors since 2003.

Back on topic though, I bet these wheels ride like a cloud. The energy dissipation properties between aluminum and steel are huge. Anybody who has replaced an aluminum handlebar or fork on a road bike with a carbon fiber variety knows exactly what I'm talking about.

By Murloc on 2/24/2014 11:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
what part of "performance cars" don't you understand?

People who buy that kind of cars don't care.

By FITCamaro on 2/24/2014 11:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
People with performance cars don't care about scratching or chipping their wheels on curbs? Right....

Just because something is a performance car, doesn't mean plenty of rich people, who will never do anything other than drive it to the office, won't own one.

By mike8675309 on 2/24/2014 12:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
Carbon Fiber drive shafts were a hot item when they first became available because of their light weight and ability to be fairly long with a resonance frequency much higher than aluminum. But they really only worked out well for purpose built track cars with healthy budgets. If they get hit with a sharp edged object the object will damage the matrix causing reduced load capacity. Eventually leading to complete failure of the matrix when placed under the same loads.

By Spuke on 2/24/2014 3:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't the 370Z have a CF driveshaft?

By Jeffk464 on 2/24/2014 6:19:48 PM , Rating: 2

By Samus on 2/24/2014 10:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
Chicago Driveline built a carbon drive shaft for my Mustang with titanium U-joints years ago. Cost about double that of aluminum, around $1900, at not much weight savings, but the shift slap was eliminated and launches are less harsh on the diff. Everyone who's ever driven it always remarks it shifts like butter, and a lot of that has to do with the drive shaft.

I suspect more and more driveline components will become carbon. It makes sense, unlike Lenovo's Thinkpad Carbon, which is kind of a silly material for a computer since aluminum is actually lighter, cheaper, and has better thermal properties.

By Pneumothorax on 2/24/2014 12:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
Potholes are another big issue. Granted, Al bends with a really big pothole, but these will just crack and/or shatter...

By bill.rookard on 2/25/2014 11:38:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah - I'm thinking much the same thing, especially where I live (Michigan) which would just make it worse:

Cold + Carbon Fiber + Infamously bad roads == shards everywhere.

By Wilcomhs on 2/24/2014 6:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't Koenigsegg make their own carbon fibre wheels for the Agera R? I think they've had at least the option since the CCX too...

By fteoath64 on 2/25/2014 10:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, called AirCore CF wheels, they are hollow inside the spokes and completely single peice design. I cannot imagine how they would layer the CR one at a time for curing. Maybe they developed a way of electrostatic spraying similar to powder coating ?!. Those "egg" rims probably cost 5 grand a piece!.

By josh_b on 2/24/2014 4:04:06 PM , Rating: 2

There has been some research done into improve carbon fibre's impact resistance and it's quite possible BMW can make these work well, particularly when it comes to EVs.

I'd love to see what they look like in real life. I'd consider buying some for our Model S.

As for curb rash... there's not much to say about that except to advise extreme caution. My wife and I have both scratched the rims on all our cars. Maybe I'd better hold off on these for awhile. :-)

By amanojaku on 2/24/2014 4:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
I've been looking for a way to shave the weight off my BMW!

By tygrus on 2/25/2014 8:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
We had a steel rims so when we hit a very bad pothole the rim was able to be hammered back into shape enough and re-glue the tire to seal. Another car hit the same pothole but with aluminium alloy rims and cracked the spoke all the way through. Carbon-firbe rims may be worse than this with rubbing, scrapping and repetitive straining causing failures not seen by steel rims.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki