Published on May 1st, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


BMW i3’s Carbon Fiber (VIDEO)

May 1st, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

The BMW i3 is the first mass production car to use carbon fiber–reinforced plastic for a major component en masse. So how’d they do it? BMW gives us the full scoop on this carbon fiber voodoo, from the first strand to the final product, a lightweight and strong passenger compartment that’s corrosion free and meets even the most stringent safety standards.

It all starts in Moses Lake, Washington at SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, where the carbon fiber is formed into a web before the oxidation process. Finally, the carbon fiber goes through the winding process, before being sent to a BMW plant in Germany. There, giant looms weave the carbon fiber into a textile form to make for easy shaping.

The carbon fiber reinforced plastic is half the weight of steel, improving the efficiency potential for the BMW i3. It’s an amazing material that will have a growing impact on the auto industry, and it all starts with this little German EV. If the BMW i3 is indeed a sales hit it already seems to be, other automakers will be forced to take notice, and respond in kind.

I for one look forward to our new carbon fiber automobiles.

Source: BMW

Complete our 2017 CleanTechnica Reader Survey — have your opinions, preferences, and deepest wishes heard.

Check out our 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Otis11

    “Half the weight of steel or one-third the weight of aluminum” – Something is wrong with that…

    And I’m not sure carbon fiber is the best choice from a sustainability perspective – it’s fairly hard to recycle. (Sure we can easily shred it and reuse it, but then it has limited reuse as it loses strength.) IMHO Aluminum is a much better route – Tesla had it right from the start.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Wow, that was a cool video…

  • Dd

    Curious to know what would be Tesla Model S’ range when its made of the above said material

    • Albertico

      I’ve been asking myself that exact same question for months now

Back to Top ↑