The Future is (Carbon Fiber Reinforced) Plastics

With the upcoming Megacity range of lightweight efficient vehicles, BMW is gearing up to produce enormous amounts of Carbon Fiber. However one of the biggest hurdles in CF production is of course cost. So BMW engineers have been hard at work developing a way to minimize cost while maximizing the effectiveness of the material.

The video above (likely the most boring and/or interesting videos you ‘ll see all year) shows BMW ‘s thinking on how to effectively make cheap CF. Due to manufacturing and design reasons the Megacity will be a body on frame design with the chassis made out of aluminum and the body made out of carbon fiber. The thought is that the aluminum structure would have been too costly to make out of CF. Additionally an aluminum crash structure is also easier to deal with on the repair side.

One of the rather interesting parts of the process (and the video – trust us) is BMW ‘s use of scrap material to make Carbon Fiber. It also allows BMW to increase the percentage of recycled parts that will make up each car.

The best part of all of this? This process of producing CF is the future and BMW is getting involved on the ground floor. This can only mean good things for the cars we will be driving in the future (even if that doesn ‘t include a Megacity electric car in our garages).

(Hat tip to Bimmerpost)

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  • JonPD

    Love it. Still have to believe this is the future. Lighter weight has to be a part of the equation when it comes to greater efficiency in the future.

  • Alfonso Llana

    Nice future…I just hope this CF future won´t turn yellow like the CF in my BMW Performance Air Intake Kit

  • I am getting excited about the future! Perhaps sub 3000lb is in the cards. You can never get tired of production line videos.

  • lava

    Its amazing that so much of it is automated, yet clearly not enough. This reminds me of a classic first step you see in the automation of any process. The first step is typically replacing human actions with machine actions. Later the process is refined to not require as many actions, nor machines imitating humans.

    Example in my industry is wide format printing. Originally Pen Plotters were used to draw each line in a technical drawings. Much faster than manually drawing, yet the machine drew each line with a pen, and a drawing could take hours depending on the density of linework. Today? Wide Format inkjets and laser printers dominate this market. They don’t draw lines – they print images of lines. In seconds, not hours.

    This carbon fiber panel fabrication is begging for some kind of new approach.

  • Evan

    The ability to decrease weight with carbon fiber parts like this is truly the future. I can’t wait for my CFRP bodied BMW/MINI. Or a MegaCity Vehicle, perhaps.