2009 BMW 7-Series
We’ve already started to see this with its range of fuel-saving EfficientDynamics technologies but going into the future we’ll be seeing cars like we’ve never seen before.
The first of this new wave of environmentally-friendly cars will be the i3 and i8 coming onto the market next year.
Rather than using conventional metals for the construction of their main structures, chassis, and body panels, these two models will rely mostly on lightweight carbon fiber.
According to BMW’s R&D chief Klaus Draeger, we’ll soon be seeing more carbon fiber construction in mainstream models starting with the next-generation 7-Series flagship sedan due out around 2015.
Speaking with Autocar, Draeger said the next 7-Series’ structure would probably feature a mix of materials, with carbon fiber used in addition to conventional aluminum and steel. Expect to see panels used for the roof, hood, and trunklid to be composed from carbon fiber.
Shedding weight is an ideal method for making vehicles greener as it not only helps curb fuel consumption but carrying less pounds also benefits the handling, braking performance, and acceleration of a car. Not surprisingly we’ve seen most automakers focus on implementing this strategy in the design of their future cars.
BMW’s closest rival Mercedes-Benz has started using more aluminum in the construction of its cars and is also reportedly working on an advanced version of its next-generation E Class sedan that’s rumored to feature carbon fiber construction and possibly even a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain.