Technology of the Year Award with BMW i
Usually nominations for Technology of the Year Award are for specific developments such as a new material or a groundbreaking app for your iPhone. This year that was not the case and the BMW i8 was added as an entire car.
The BMW i8 combines both the BMW brand’s sporty dynamic with the new age of premium efficiency. It’s safe to say that the BMW i8 is not only sleek and stylish but drives like a true sports car with the key component being the Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. The CFRP has been used in Formula 1 since the 1980’s and is a strong lightweight material that significantly reduces carbon-dioxide emissions while still holding the sporty dynamics. Genius if you ask us!
If you didn’t know, CFRP is about 30 percent lighter than aluminum and 50 lighter than steel! If used in the correct places this material can do a number of things like improve strength and reduce weight.
“Lightweight design is a key technology in the quest for reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,” Kranz tells Automobile Magazine. “Lightweight design is also particularly critical in the BMW i3 because of its key role in determining what size of battery will be required and what mileage range can be achieved. It is the combination of SGL’s advanced carbon fibers and BMW’s unrivaled know-how in mass production of the CFRP components that will allow us to produce carbon-fiber components at competitive costs to alternative materials.”
BMW believes the cost of carbon fiber could ultimately drop by 90 percent, well within the ballpark of steel.