Dr. -Ing Joachim Starke, BMW, launched the Automotive Track at the Advanced Textiles Conference in Charlotte, N.C., with a description of BMW’s newest innovations in the use of carbon fiber. According to Starke, one of the main goals is to meet the growing demand for automobiles to be more sustainable. This includes lower carbon emissions.
BMW’s new “Life-Drive” concept, as manifested in the BMWi3, an electric car that boasts much lighter weight, zero CO2 emissions, a drive range of up to 180 miles and “one-pedal feeling,” which means it doesn’t have a separate brake pedal.
Part of BMW’s strategy is to rethink the production process to make the entire “process chain” more sustainable—and to make the carbon fiber-reinforced composite components more affordable. The companies says its production process uses 50 percent less energy, uses 100 percent renewable energy, takes 50 percent less time, uses 70 percent less water and has reduced noise by 50 percent.
The company’s “next generation” BMW 7 Series will be the first car to incorporate carbon fiber on an industrial scale. Besides the advantages of CFRC for strength, light weight and safety, the process also uses recycled materials.
Says former BMW CEO, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, “Premium will be defined by sustainability.”