BMW learned an important lesson during the development of its new all-electric i8, says BMW’s Head of R&D Dr. Klaus Draeger in a recent interview. That lesson, simply that regular cars can’t merely be transformed into electric cars. The entire car needs to be rebuilt.
During the rebuilding process, Draeger explains that BMW adopted and implemented carbon fiber, which they had already been using on the roof and bumper of the M3, in order to lightweight the electric design. Overall, this lightweighting process makes it easier for the car to run off electric engines, he says.
BMW is now using carbon fiber extensively in the i3 and i8 designs and anticipates using a mixture of composites, high-grade steel and aluminum in future designs like the BMW 7-series. Draeger also mentions the company is involved in several research projects including work with flex fuels and other alternative energy projects that will allow further eco-efficiency.
To read more about the future use of composites at BWM, read BMWBlog’s interview with Dr. Klaus Draeger.