BMW is growing closer to putting a full carbon fiber wheel into production, based on patents the company made when developing the i3 and i8 electric vehicles.
After developing a new carbon fiber production system for the i3 and i8, BMW tasked lightweight construction manager Franz Storkenmaier with developing new applications for a number of patents. Besides the new wheels, his team has also developed a full carbon-fiber steering wheel and a carbon-fiber driveshaft for the X5.
BMW has also developed a carbon fiber/alloy hybrid wheel that mates a carbon fiber rim to alloy spokes. “We save 25 percent in weight compared to a forged alloy wheel with the hybrid wheel and another 10 percent if it’s completely carbon,” Storkenmaier said.
New carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is also being widely used by BMW, from the bumper of the M6 to the driveshaft of the M3/M4. The company has even found a way to take the carbon-fiber leftovers from i3 production and reuse them in CFRP, which can be used to reduce weight in seat frames, instrument panel frames and spare wheels.
GALLERY: BMW Carbon Fiber Parts
[Source: Auto Express]
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