BMW has announced that it will use carbon fibre to provide extra safety in its battery-powered city car. The same light weight material is used to protect Formula One drivers.
The German company will use the fabric to construct a passenger-safety cell for the upcoming city car. According to Klaus Draeger, BMW’s development chief, the mixture of carbon fibre and aluminium will reduce as much as 350 kilograms of additional weight from the car.
As consumers and government shift their focus on alternative fuel cars, the world’s largest luxury car maker is hurrying up to manufacture battery powered vehicles. Some other car manufacturers like the General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are also expected to bring forth their electric vehicles this year.
The company will weave the carbon fibre at a $100 million factory near Seattle that the company is building together with its partner SGL Carbon SE.
The fibres, which are composed of 50,000 filaments, will be made into fabrics and then hardened into components at facilities in Germany.
The car manufacturer is not revealing any details related to the price of the car. BMW has turned to carbon fibre to reduce the size and cost of the battery required to run the city car.
The city car will be equipped with a 96-cell lithium-ion power pack.
“Weight in electric vehicles takes on a totally different dimension, and this weight improvement you can only get through carbon-fibre parts,” Herbert Diess, BMW’s purchasing and logistics chief had earlier said.
The BMW’s passenger cell will have enough space for four adults. “It’ll be the first large-scale vehicle with a passenger cell out of carbon,” Draeger said. “BMW will bring a revolutionary vehicle to the streets.”