BMW has developed new processing and production techniques that make carbon fibre a viable material for use in large-scale automotive production.
The manufacturer intends for carbon fibre to feature more prominently in its future models as a result. As well as potentially improving safety, by providing a more rigid structure, carbon fibre reduces weight. This can lead to improvements in performance and efficiency.
Due to be launched soon, the new BMW i3 will be the first series production car to extensively feature carbon fibre, with its entire body structure being made from the material. It will be closely followed by the i8 sports car, which also uses carbon fibre in its construction.
Previously, the material was considered too time-consuming, costly and difficult to utilise - in significant amounts - in mass-produced cars.
Over ten years’ worth of research, however, has allowed BMW to acquire the expertise required to reduce the processing time of carbon-fibre components and panels, even complex ones, to a period short enough to allow for high volume production.