By on July 3, 2010

When word of the BMW EV called „MegaCity“ first made the rounds, our Ed Niedermeyer called it  “BMW’s long-rumored Neo-Isetta EV.” Now, BMW opened the first button of their electric blouse.

At a presentation in the BMW museum, BMW showed first MegaCity drawings. The sketches were shown by BMWs chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk,  and by Benoit Jacobs, who’s the designer-in-charge for the project. Here is what Automobilwoche [sub] took away from the meeting:

  • The car will be built from carbon fiber, 50 percent lighter than steel, 30 percent lighter than aluminum. BMW has developed a process that makes carbon fiber much less expensive than before.
  • The carbon fiber is 100 percent recyclable and needs no painting.
  • This makes the car 100kg lighter, which compensates for the battery, which would make the car 100kg heavier.
  • The car will be launched 2013 under a BMW sub-brand

Affordable carbon fiber, something that is being worked on in Germany and in Japan, could be even more important for the future of the EV than battery technology. That battery is heavy, and ever since Newton made force, mass, and acceleration inseparable, weight loss  has been the key to power and range. That carbon fiber story might be much more interesting than the drawings. The real car never looks like the drawing anyway.

According to The Nikkei [sub], Japan’s “Toray is seeking to develop carbon fiber products for use in high-end vehicles in collaboration with Daimler AG by 2012. Mitsubishi Rayon is teaming up with German materials group SGL to make materials used in a BMW AG electric car due out in 2015. A limited-edition Toyota sports car slated to hit the market at year-end will use Toho Tenax’s material. The Teijin subsidiary has approached several carmakers with a prototype vehicle whose carbon fiber composite use makes it 60% lighter.”

The Teijin process sounds most interesting.  Teijin can process the material in just one minute.  Their material is 10 times stronger and 75 percent lighter than comparable metals, says the company.

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