BMW Plans Electric Car With Lightweight Carbon Fiber Shell


BMW AG (BAMXF) plans to build a battery-powered city car with a lightweight shell made out of carbon fiber, the same material used to protect Formula One drivers, Bloomberg News reported.

The car will be cocooned in hardened carbon fiber supported by an aluminum frame, the company's development chief Klaus Draeger said. The carbon fibers will be made of 50,000 filaments that are each one-seventh the thickness of a human hair.

The carbon fibers will be made at a factory near Seattle, then shipped to Germany to be hardened into components.

BMW did not discuss the price for the carbon fiber city car.

"The economics will be balanced on a razor blade," Christoph Stuermer, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Frankfurt, told Bloomberg News. "The combination of using lots of carbon fiber and breaking it up into smaller pieces may be the magic trick to reduce costs and could make the frame only twice as expensive as aluminium."