BMW Developing Carbon Fiber Wheels to Replace Alloys on Performance Cars
February 24, 2014 9:17 AM
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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.
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
. “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.
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Don't dismiss these wheels too quickly
2/24/2014 4:04:06 PM
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. :-)
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