BMW’s new material investment in carbon fiber

Moving from concepts and piece-meal implementation, BMW AG is going to production with its 2013 Megacity vehicle (MCV). (The concept shown at top and the carbon fiber cockpit shown underneath.) Every body panel and some interior parts will be made using a carbon fiber the company will mold itself, using carbon fiber from BMW’s new joint venture plant between BMW and SGL Group in Wiesbaden, Germany. The two recently had formed a joint venture under which carbon fibers made in the U.S. at a new plant in Moses Lake, Wash., will be used exclusively to create the MCV’s cockpit structure.

BMW reported that one Megacity prototype structure has been crash-tested from three different positions: two in accordance with EuroNCAP regulations and one under U.S. side-impact rules. After the testing, the passenger cell was still intact, confirming the integrity of the composite structure.

[Plastics News story]

[Composites World story]


2 Responses to “BMW’s new material investment in carbon fiber”

  1. 1 Elizabeth Lopeman August 18, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    My son asked me the other day if he thought some day all hard surfaces would be made of carbon fiber–not sure where that one came from, but I think it’s great to see what BMW is doing with it. I’m excited to see them also moving forward so nicely with environmentally cleaner solutions.

    • 2 Warren Ginn August 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,

      You know, there’s still some ongoing debate regarding the “green” value of carbon fiber and other composites vs other more traditional materials. For one thing, they’ve yet to come up with a sure-fire way to recycle composites the way you can metals and (some) plastics. It’s a worthwhile debate to have, given the weight and potential fuel savings these new materials represent.

      Thanks for your comments.


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