Carbon Fiber Cars BMW’s Electric Automobile Revolution SPIEGEL ONLINE

14 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Carbon Fiber Cars BMW’s Electric Automobile Revolution SPIEGEL ONLINE отключены
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Carbon Fiber Cars: Electric Automobile Revolution

Fiber Cars: BMW’s Revolution

Cars may have the world, but they didn’t do it Decades after its invention in the passenger car was still too expensive and too to be anything more than a sight on the streets. Gas stations even exist in those

The spread of electric cars in the century seems to be proceeding at a slow pace. The first from major manufacturers are now the market, but as a form of transportation, vehicles face much the acceptance problem as Gottlieb horseless carriage did. cars have a high tag but offer low performance.

Mitsubishi has its first electric car series the rather uninspiring model i-MiEV. It’s a simply compact car with an oval and lithium-ion batteries under the panel. With one charge of the the vehicle can travel 100 kilometers (62 in summer or 60 kilometers (37 miles) in

It costs 34,390 ($45,240).

electric car, the Leaf set to hit the German market next — faces the same plight. Even so, European journalists saw fit to name the Leaf Car of the Year.

It doesn’t take market research to see that doesn’t add up here. What is willing to pay the price of a luxury for a spartan vehicle whose radius barely extends the range of commuter trains?

Too and Too Heavy

All car manufacturers face the problem — even the modern rechargeable batteries are too too weak and too heavy to power cars, which are already heavy even without the

Integrating electric power existing vehicle concepts is the way, a dead end, Rainer Kurek, head of the MVI Group, which develops car and other components for the automotive In his recently published book, urges vehicle manufacturers to a completely new approach. The current surrounding electric vehicles, the writes, is obscuring the fact today’s auto bodies become far too heavy over the of the last decades.

A first-series Volkswagen Golf 1974 weighs 750 kilograms pounds). A Golf from production series weighs half a ton more. It’s an entire vehicle class than its predecessor, contains a eight airbags and can drive a wall at 64 kilometers per hour (40 per hour) without its occupants seriously injured.

Such an in the original Golf would meant certain death.

progress has long meant an increase in weight. The aluminum bodies used in Audi’s cars, for example, just manage to make up for the weight by the all-wheel drive system the brand has made its trademark. a technical revolution.

Now, though, BMW is attempting to the cycle. Three years now, the Munich-based company to offer an electric vehicle of a different construction type. The known as Megacity Vehicle won’t contain steel or bodywork.

Instead, it will a light alloy frame in the car and a body made of carbon polymer (CFRP).

An Economic

CFRP is a dull black which has a chemical structure to that of diamonds. It is sturdier steel and weighs less half as much. The MCV body be 250 to 300 kilograms (550 to 660 pounds) than that of a conventional car of the same size, compensating for the additional weight of the batteries.

BMW is in pursuing the concept — the idea currently under in the automobile world, and one which is an riddle for the competition. CFRP have been available for 50 years and are used in the aviation and industries, in car racing and, recently, in rotor blades for turbines. Still, the idea of cars from the material appear to make little

CFRP, after all, is 50 as expensive as steel. A car body made of steel sheet about 4 in its final form; the part made from costs at least 200. To the desired lightweight construction, BMW need to use very large of the material — 150 to 200 kilograms to 440 pounds) per vehicle.

BMW, of has no intention of manufacturing a compact a body that alone 40,000. Company engineers set a goal of a tenfold reduction in costs for CFRP. That spell a true revolution in engineering.


BMW’s partner in venture is SGL Carbon. Based in SGL was once owned by the Hoechst company and is currently Europe’s manufacturer of carbon fiber The company’s profits have come mainly from carbon products, such as

But the company hopes to be able to carbon-fibers from a niche into a profitable business. CEO Koehler calls it a megatrend in substitution.

The joint venture of SGL and BMW these carbon fibers, 10 thinner than a human in the northwestern United States. The process consumes an enormous of electricity, but hydroelectric power is in the mountainous state of Washington.

significant cost reductions are to be once the black mini-threads in an industrial park outside the of Wackersdorf in Bavaria. Here, on a once meant for processing nuclear fuel rods, an textiles factory is setting up to serve the auto body industry.

Four knitting machines, as large as a train car, up most of a 7,500-square-meter (80,700-square-foot) floor. But instead of producing for T-shirts and jeans, the outsized produce carbon fiber at speeds no other manufacturer has approached.

Part 1: BMW’s Revolution

Part 2: Will Be Enough?

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