The Truth About Cars » MegaCity The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » MegaCity BMW Launches i-Serie Mon, 21 Feb 2011 15:44:26 +0000

Forget MegaCity. At the Geneva Motorshow, BMW will launch a new sub-brand that stands for low-emission vehicles and a new venture capital company. The brand will also remind people of the initially very controversial iDrive. Or the iPhone.

The BMW M, X, and Z series now get a new sibling. It’s the i series, with a lowercase i. It will first grace what used to be known as the MegaCity carbon fiber on aluminum pure plug-in. That will be the i3. It will be followed by an equally lightweight plug-in hybrid, called the i8.

And there is more that meets the i: According to the Financial Times, BMW said “that it was establishing a New York-based venture capital company called iVentures to invest in providers of premium mobility services. BMW said the fund would be capitalized at up to $100m.”

The fund will invest into providers of mobility services. First to receive funding from iVentures will be MyCityWay, a New York company that makes a “real-time, user-driven, location-aware urban reference app for mobile devices.” Such as the iPhone or the iPad.

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Carbon Fiber Vs. Carbon Dioxide: German Car Maker Risks A Big Gamble Sun, 07 Nov 2010 05:38:17 +0000

Except for a lot of green talk, my German compatriots are not known for enthusiastically embracing the EV idea. Japan, even China is way ahead of them. Despite high gasoline costs (taxes, taxes), even hybrids are everything but runaway successes in the Fatherland. If Germans want to save, they buy a Diesel, or take the train. But even the train isn’t the bargain it used to be. One car company bets big on Electric Vehicles. So big, that they built a whole new factory for them. You won’t believe who.

It’s BMW. With Chancellor Merkel in attendance, BMW started construction of a factory only for EVs. The plant is outside of Leipzig, and looks “like a stranded UFO,” as Die Welt reports. In 2013, the factory will churn out BMW’s EVs that currently go by the working title “Megacity Vehicle.” Instead of putting a battery and electric motors into a (more or less) existing vehicle, BMW will build a whole new vehicle around battery and electric motors. Or so they say.

Here is the big EV conundrum: The car has to lug a heavy battery around. Weight is the enemy of range. The bigger the battery, the bigger the weight. Can’t win. So BMW makes the car itself as light as possible. Instead of heavy steel, even instead of light aluminum, there will be carbon fiber. “Less weight, more range” taught CEO Reithofer the assembled press and luminaries, just in case they had slept during Newton. So get ready for a future that replaces carbon dioxide with carbon fiber.

BMW started a joint venture with SGL Carbon. They are building a factory in Washington State that will mass produce carbon fiber in an environmentally-friendly fashion. “When we make carbon fiber in our state, no harmful substances will be emitted into the air,” bragged Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, who was also in attendance. Even the power to make the fiber is green: Hydroelectric power, there is one plus to all that rain in the Northwest.

Still, BMW has to deal with the usual problems that plague EVs. First, there is the nasty price. It won’t be cheap. But BMW customers usually don’t rely on social security. Then, there is range. Klaus Draeger, head of R& at BMW says it will go for 200km (124 miles) – no wonder it’s for megacities. Its range is barely enough for the M25, London’s ring road. In a true megacity, like Beijing, it will run out of juice before circumnavigating the 140mile long 6th Ring Road.

Then, there is a huge gamble: Currently, carbon fiber is obscenely expensive. Two to three times as dear as aluminum. Nearly 30 times as expensive than steel – if you go by weight. BMW is betting that the price of carbon fiber (and hopefully that of batteries) will come way down before they launch their Megacity Vehicle in 2013. If not, it will be a megadud.

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BMW MegaCity EV Hides Much Bigger Find: Affordable Carbon Fiber Sat, 03 Jul 2010 12:27:26 +0000

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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