BMW Videos


Monday, September 12, 2011

Carbon Fibre Car Market

The rivalry is a clear indication that the race is on between carmakers eager to conquer emerging markets for efficient, light-weight electric cars.
BMW is investing heavily in city cars, pointing to how the number of cities with a population of more than 10 million people rose from 83 in 1950 to 468 in 2007 and predicting dramatic growth in the years and decades ahead.

Volkswagen Group is hot on its heels. Its luxury subsidiary Audi will unveil a carbon fibre reinforced polymer two-seater electric city car at the Frankfurt motor show.
And earlier this year VW unveiled a similarly constructed XL1 concept car, which it said could travel 503km (313 miles) on a gallon of diesel, emitting just 24g of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled.

Other carmakers are getting in on the act too, most notably Daimler - owner of Smart, Mercedes and Maybach - which in January this year formed a joint venture with Toray Industries to produce carbon fibre reinforced plastic car parts.
Increasingly carbon fibre parts are being used to make more conventional models lighter to improve their weight to power ratio.

In small city cars, this means less power is needed to propel the vehicles forward. In larger, sportier cars it means existing engines will have less weight to lug around so their speed and performance improve.
McLaren's MP4-12C sports car, for instance, is built around a highly rigid carbon fibre monocoque, which means its relatively small engine still delivers tremendous speed and acceleration.

A Lotus Evora sports car with carbon fibre interior and a composite body was unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March.
And Europe's fastest production car, the Koenigsegg CCXR Edition, has a carbon fibre body.

Eventually, such hi-tech, light-weight components may also make their way into mainstream cars.
And it is then that this technological breakthrough will have a real and major impact on the overall emissions and fuel consumption of ordinary cars.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Volkswagen Investment

No wonder, then, that a dogged fight has broken out between BMW and the owner of arch-rival Audi, Volkswagen Group.
BMW got in there first, working closely with SGL's boffins to craft car bodies based on a mixture of SGL's carbon fibre technology and its own expertise in automotive design, aerodynamics and safety.

Mixed with its electric drive system technologies, developed inhouse and trialled in existing production models such as the electric Mini or the petrol-electric hybrid BMW 7-series, the result founded the basis for the creation of BMWi, a dedicated electric motoring division within the group.

Early concepts of BMWi vehicles were shown to journalists at small events towards the end of last year, with SGL presented as a partner in the SGL Automotive Fibre venture.

Within weeks, the cosy partnership was rocked by a surprise investment by Volkswagen, which bought an 8% stake in SGL in February, raising it to 10% soon afterwards.
The German multi-billionaire Susanne Klatten, a member of the Quandt family which owns just under 50% of BMW, responded by raising her stake in SGL from 22% to 30%, thus blocking any hopes VW might have had to influence the company's strategy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

BMW Carbon Technology

The i3 and the i8 are both built using new carbon fibre technology developed in the US together with a hitherto relatively unknown company at a facility in Moses Lake in Washington State.
"Carbon fibre technology will fundamentally change the car industry, becoming increasingly important in the quest for lighter-weight materials to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions"

Carbon fibre composite material has long been used by the aerospace industry, for instance in nearby Seattle where plane maker Boeing has huge factories, as well as in big budget Formula 1 racing cars.
But with few exceptions, it has not been used by mainstream automotive companies, largely because it has been deemed too expensive.

This has now changed, thanks to SGL Group's carbon fibre products, which are not only affordable but also eminently flexible in the way they are produced.
Products made in a process that weaves a cellular carbon honeycomb into carbon fibre reinforced plastic mats can easily be shaped into slim-line seats or sleek body panels, such as doors or bonnets, or even into strong structural support beams to support a vehicle's rigidity.

It is also massively rigid, as well as ultra-lightweight; 30% lighter than aluminium and half the weight of steel.
"Carbon fibre technology will fundamentally change the car industry, becoming increasingly important in the quest for lighter-weight materials to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions," the company says in a statement.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BMW carbon fibre car launch

Next week, at the Frankfurt motor show, BMW will be showing two futuristic vehicles that will reflect much of what the movement stood for.
The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 are both contemporary concepts of what the German carmaker envisions the future will require. Both will go into production in 2013.

The i3 is a small, electric city car that seats four, designed for tomorrow's burgeoning mega-cities.
The i8 is a fast, aggressive supercar, powered by a petrol-electric hybrid engine and set to appear in Tom Cruise's next violent Mission Impossible film.

The cars, which were first revealed at a media preview event during the summer, are very different in many ways.
But what makes them interesting is what they have in common - namely their shared technological characteristics.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BMW Laser Headlights

BMW is working on laser-powered headlights that could debut in vehicles "within a few years", BMW announced Tuesday.
"After LED technology, laser light is the next logical step in car light development," the company said in a statement.

The BMW laser diodes powering the next generation of headlights will have an intensity that is 1,000 times greater than conventional light-emitting diode, or LED technology but consume only half the energy.
Laser diodes will also be about 100 times smaller than the small, square-shaped LED cells.

While it would theoretically be possible for BMW to reduce the size of headlights using laser diodes, the german carmaker says it currently has no plans to do that.
Instead, "the size advantages could be used to reduce the depth of the headlight unit, and so open up new possibilities for headlight positioning and body styling," BMW said.

The light from the laser diodes is blue but will be converted into a pure white light that is "suitable for use in road traffic,” BMW said. This conversion also makes the laser light safe for humans and animals.
The laser headlights are expected to make their first appearance in the BMW concept vehicle, the BMW i8.