BMW is looking to make the word alloy outdated. Within a year or two BMW is planning to roll out carbon fiber wheels. Basically the long and the short of it is that BMW developed and patented a new method of industrializing CF production their task was to proliferate the breakthrough's.
Other avenues being explored are fully CF steering wheels and a hybird material they call secondary CFRP, which is bascially a carbon/plastic mashup that BMW expectes to compete with magnesium and aluminium in light, semi structural parts like seat frames. While Carbon is expensive to work with, industrializing the costs and processes help to scale the process upwards. Not to mention their innovation of production wastes sets them up with diverse possibilities moving forward..“We save 25 percent in weight compared to a forged alloy wheel with the hybrid wheel and another 10 percent if it’s completely carbon,” Mr Storkenmaier said.
“It’s the most important kind of weight because it’s unsprung mass and there are also rotating mass advantages.”
Given carbon fibre has a reputation for being light, incredibly strong but not good at bending, we asked if there concerns about wheels shattering or becoming damaged to the point where the cars were dangerous to drive.
“The carbon fibre wheels are very damage resistant. They’re actually more damage resistant to kerb hits than standard alloy wheels because the damage polishes out really easily.