BMW recently released plans to introduce carbon wheels for future vehicles within the next two years. Through all the changes in car development in the past decades, one thing remains the same: physics. Weight remains the enemy of speed and fuel efficiency, which explains why so many manufacturers have focused their efforts on creating cars that are lighter. BMW plans to conquer this obstacle through carbon technology that was developed during the production of the brand-new BMW i3 and i8, which will ultimately results in BMW carbon fiber wheels.
Carbon fiber is about 30 percent lighter than aluminum and 50 percent lighter than steel making it an ideal material to decrease the weight of the car and increase speed and fuel efficiency. Unfortunately carbon fiber is not a cheap material to work with. However, BMW has released plans to skirt that issue by recycling extra material used from the BMW i3 and i8 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 still in the process of showing European regulators that this new set of wheels is strong enough to be safe on the streets and gaining European Union approval. However, it appears that BMW will the first OEM to offer a full carbon wheel.