BMW i8’s Technology Will “Change All The Cars We’ll Drive In The Near Future” – Video


BMW i8

BMW i8

“With its i8, BMW goes on a radical program of weight saving to make modern cars fast and efficient. Dan Neil says this approach will change all the cars we’ll drive in the near future.”

For those who may not know, Dan Neil is an automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal and a former staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, AutoWeek and Car and Driver.

Neil is well respected among automotive journalists.

His take is that BMW’s i8 weight-saving measures, mostly through extensive use of carbon fiber, will change the automobiles we’ll drive in the near future.  Neil believes that BMW pioneered the use of the material in mass production, but other automakers will soon follow suit.  If true, then BMW, with both the i8 and i3, is blazing a path for the future of automobiles.

Categories: BMW


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20 Comments on "BMW i8’s Technology Will “Change All The Cars We’ll Drive In The Near Future” – Video"

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Will all these carbon fiber cars also be coming with with a “flying car” option? Because I was promised way back in the 60’s that everyone would have a flying car in the future too.

The i8 is a pretty expensive car. Even the i3 is fairly pricy. It is going to take a while until carbon fiber becomes the common construction of your typical sub-$30K family 4-doors and F-150 trucks.

Heck, they are just catching up with using lighter weight metals, like aluminum for those. Even though aluminum has been used to make some cars for half a century (Land Rover, etc).

1. The average selling price of a Ford is nearly $34,000 USD now.
2. In some states (like Georgia where I live) after incentives, the BMW i3 is about $29k base.

And yet at an average price of $34K (above the national median price for a typical new car), Ford still uses mostly steel, and is only recently doing things to roll out aluminum in vehicles like their top selling F-150.

That’s sort of my point. Even a manufacturer with a higher than the median sales price is barely dipping their toes into aluminum, decades after it was first introduced into car manufacturing. And this guy thinks carbon fiber will be be common in cars in the “near future”?

All the evidence points in the opposite direction — that car makers are just now adopting decades old aluminum technology. And even then, just for cars that are priced higher than the average car. At this pace, it will be decades before carbon fiber moves mainstream, not the “near future” as I would define that term (5-10 years or less).

The BMW i3 is definitely more of the game changer than the i8. Especially with the Range extender. Even more so with a few tweaks.

you’re getting over $13,000 in incentives in Georgia??? that truly is generous.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

There will never be a flying car because lawyers.

think practically about the idea of everyone flying around in cars. first of all, you would be traveling a lot faster in a flying car; if people are flying around in *unregulated* airspaces during, say, rush hour; a lot of people will be getting into accidents where people will get injured or killed.

the idea of flying cars might sound like a good idea: until everyone is doing it; then it isn’t such a good idea.

Pretty much all airspace in the continental US above 700-1,200′ is controlled airspace. Airplanes generally fly above that unless they are taking off or landing, or doing something unusual like crop dusting.

Elon Musk said he could build one…

We need carbon fiber 3D printers.

Why? The current method which shows some resemblance to a clothes factory is the cheapest and quickest way to manufacture carbon fibre. 3D printers in recent news have been used to make objects for organ transplants and other very serious, specific and life-changing things. So they’ll be expensive, for now at least.

There is more important info about sport electric cars. Dual carbon batteries will be tried this year in a racing car –

Lightweighting wasn’t invented by
BMW… And there are a variety of ways to accomplish it, without carbon fiber.

Mazda Miata
VW Bug
Lotus, um, well, every Lotus.

All lighter than the i8, each ultimately didn’t change the future of cars. Cars got heavier anyways.

Not that I don’t think that cars will get lighter. They’ve gotten fat again like they did in the 1950’s and 60’s, and the pendulum will probably swing back like they did by the 1980’s. But you are absolutely right.

Well, how about some exercise regimen? A car with 4 passengers in US can easily shed 400 pounds just through exercise and dieting.

+100 Lol

The useless weight every hybrid can shed the combustion engine the automatic transmission the gasoline tank the exhaust pipe muffler and cat-converter. add a little larger bat-pack and drive, thats the recipe.

Its great that a car maker came out with carbon fibre. Its the future. However, its the long term future. Airplanes are a good example. If you are willing to pay $500,000 (one half a million dollars), do you get a carbon fibre airplane? No, common fibreglass composites fill the bill. You don’t get to carbon fibre until you get to military grade airplanes, and that is mainly for the strength There are also problems with recycling. Airplanes in total don’t represent a lot of material. Cars do. Replacing the present, very recyclable steel with composites presents a waste stream issue in the future. Yes, there are ways to recycle it. None of them as easy or prevalent as steel or aluminum, both of which are recycled by the high tech operation of throwing it in a furnace (2). The car industry long ago settled on sheet steel as the cost and strength standard. AL costs more, but is looking more attractive against gas economy regulations. And we should not discount this effect. A car industry that formerly told us 50 MPG cars were flat out impossible is now racing north of that figure. In short, I’d love to see… Read more »

Scott > If you are willing to pay $500,000 (one half a million dollars), do you get a carbon fibre airplane? … You don’t get to carbon fibre until you get to military grade airplanes, and that is mainly for the strength.

Actually, this is not the case. Carbon Fiber general aviation airplanes are not uncommon now. Not only for strength, but weight savings.

The Lancair Evolution (over $500k, but not “military grade”) is just one example, there are several others (Lancair IV, etc)

The Japanese have moved to injection molded CFRP, which eliminates the human lay-up of even adding one layer.

The old Solectria Sunrise chasis could be injection molded over fiberglass in 9 minutes.

Replace the base fabric from fiberglass to carbon fiber and combine the two technologies.