Carbon fibre wheels have been used so far only on exclusive supercars. But thanks to the BMW company they might become affordable quite soon. Within the next two years the Bavarians want to opt out from using the traditional light alloy wheels. The new generation of wheels was initially developed for the i3 and i8 electric cars; however, there’s no reason why they cannot be applied to other cars as well.
There are two variants of carbon fibre wheels. The engineers from BMW designed the fully carbon fibre wheels and combined ones with alloy spokes and CF rims.
The new wheels have a decent drop in weight. A fully carbon fibre wheel is one third as light (and the combined one is one quarter as light) as its alloy sibling. Moreover, the CF wheels are harder and more damage-resistant.
BMW does not comment on the manufacturing cost of such wheels and the final price for the customers yet. But as the factory’s representatives speak about mass production, one might assume that the price tag is not going to be eye-watering. After the launch of production of carbon fibre wheels, BMW plans to start manufacturing steering wheels and propeller shafts from the same material.
As noted by auto.mail.ru, the engineers from AvtoVAZ had plans on replacing metal wheels with polypropylene or polycarbonate ones back in 1970 when designing the ‘eighth’ model (VAZ 2108). But production of such wheels turned out to be too expensive in those days.