Lightening the plug-in load
Despite massive obstacles against plugging in the future of the auto industry, the electrification of a significant chunk of the automotive future seems inevitable. Yet, the success of the plug might be dependent upon more than just cheaper, smaller and more powerful batteries.
Instead, a significant reduction in vehicle weight might be the key to plug-in cost-effectiveness, and that makes BMW’s Megacity Car Concept – planned for a 2013 launch – an interesting body of work.
Carbon fiber. Head to any major auto show and the hottest concepts are packaged in carbon fiber, thanks to its ability to push the limits of design, but carbon fiber’s potential stretches far beyond sleek, wind-slicing car bodies. For instance, BMW believes that the weight of its next generation electric vehicles, known as the Megacity line of cars, will be reduced by 30 percent thanks to carbon fiber, without sacrificing safety.
Unfortunately, however, carbon fiber is expensive. Consequently, cost has prevented carbon fiber from rewriting automotive history so far; however, by 2013 BMW believes carbon fiber economics should begin to scale into competitiveness, setting a new mold for the auto industry.
Pictured above is the latest carbon-fiber influenced sketch of the design direction of the upcoming Megacity vehicle according to Straightline.
Certainly, many might call the Megacity wildly futuristic, or an even worse science experiment than the Toyota Prius. The future, however, will demand pushing the limits of our automotive box, and the design language of the Megacity is a step towards that future.