BMW to increase use of carbon fiber for all of its brands

BMW i3 - BMW i8
BMW i3 - BMW i8

BMW and its brands plan on increasing the use of lightweight and strong carbon fiber in future production cars, according to Ian Robertson, BMW’s global sales and marketing boss.

“A carbon spaceframe means less weight, and less weight means less fuel consumption,” Robertson said in an interview at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. “Carbon fiber is something we’re investing in as a company.

The upcoming BMW i3, previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, has a shell that uses carbon fiber. So does the BMW i8, previously known as the Vision EfficientDynamics.

BMW currently owns a part of a plant in Washington that makes carbon fiber materials. According to Rich Steinberg, manager of electric-vehicle operations and strategy for BMW of North America, the plant in Washington has enough capacity for future BMW cars and could even make parts for other automakers.

“With increasing oil prices, if they continue to move upwards at the rate we’ve seen or even greater, for the BMW Group brands, whether it’s Mini or BMW or for that matter Rolls-Royce, fuel efficiency will be very, very much more of a focus,” Robertson said.

However, Robertson said that a lot of work still needs to be done to make carbon fiber more practical and affordable for mass-production.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News