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      06-18-2012, 09:19 AM   #45
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Ball is in your court here. Traditional layered, oriented woven or long fiber materials are very expensive. Both components are expensive, the CF itself as well as the labor. BMW is obviously attacking both fronts but the savings will occur incrementally. Reducing the existing cost of material by half is a huge deal.
We are on the same page here swamp. BMW will continue to bring carbon fiber more and more into mainstream automotive applications, however it will occur slowly in an evolutionary fashion, with the F80 M3 being one of the first products to attack areas of the car other than body panels. This is a first go, and they are not going to go from an all-steel body shell and mostly-steel-and-aluminum chassis to something that is predominantly carbon fiber, or even appreciably so.

As compared to traditional materials such as aluminum and steel, I still do suspect that materials costs are only a small consideration when weighed against fabrication and engineering costs. Hypothetically, what if we wanted to build a carbon fiber Hot Wheels car today? Let's say it cost $5 to produce where the current die-cast metal car might cost $1. In my mind, materials cost would account for perhaps $1 in the increase while R&D, manufacturing would account for the other $3. That's a silly example with some major SWAGs, but you can hopefully see what I am trying to say here.
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      06-18-2012, 01:28 PM   #46
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I agree with those who say the weight will come down. It has to because the fuel efficiency rules are getting so tough. I suspect the engine will look something like an N55 with a larger twin scroll turbo and the rumored electric supercharger. Current internals will be replaced with forged items.
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      06-18-2012, 10:42 PM   #47
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I agree with those who say the weight will come down. It has to because the fuel efficiency rules are getting so tough. ...
I'm not aware that many buyers of M3/C63/RS4/ISF are concerned with fuel efficiency; even if you're talking about average for the brand, they sell so realtively few of these "supercars," they're not going to be material to the brand.

What would matter more to buyers of these cars would be handling and this would be the key reason for reducing weight through use of carbon fibre, etc.
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      06-19-2012, 08:21 AM   #48
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I'm not aware that many buyers of M3/C63/RS4/ISF are concerned with fuel efficiency; even if you're talking about average for the brand, they sell so realtively few of these "supercars," they're not going to be material to the brand.

What would matter more to buyers of these cars would be handling and this would be the key reason for reducing weight through use of carbon fibre, etc.
It might not be because buyers care about the fuel efficiency, but because the manufacturers care about the figures, whether to bring down the fleet average or for marketing/image/PR.
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      06-19-2012, 10:25 AM   #49
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I'm not aware that many buyers of M3/C63/RS4/ISF are concerned with fuel efficiency;
That's because you live in North-America, home of the oil $$$.

Elsewhere in the world, people pay 4 times the price of what you pay.
That's why they (including the German BMW) look at fuel economy, and other brands (like American Ford with their Mustang, which is not sold in Europe) keep 5L V8 in their cars.
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      06-19-2012, 11:01 AM   #50
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I would have bought an E90 M3 to replace my M Coupe if it's got better mileage than it does, simple as that.
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      06-20-2012, 07:10 AM   #51
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I paid $10/gallon in the Alps last summer during ED. I'm sure Europeans care about fuel economy.

But even if you don't, range is my biggest issue. I passed on the E90 M3 because of the combination of fuel economy and a sub-200 mile real-life range.
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      06-20-2012, 08:52 AM   #52
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Well, i get about 300-310 miles out of my E90 M3, and 20.1 mpg before i would need to tow it home. Not saying its good but i dont think its sub 200 mile range. Maybe you just drive it too hard. I do the occasional womping on it but mostly (i mean 95% of the time)just drive around 50 mph in 6th gear lol.
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      06-20-2012, 05:20 PM   #53
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Well, i get about 300-310 miles out of my E90 M3, and 20.1 mpg before i would need to tow it home. Not saying its good but i dont think its sub 200 mile range. Maybe you just drive it too hard. I do the occasional womping on it but mostly (i mean 95% of the time)just drive around 50 mph in 6th gear lol.
Let me just say that on my '07 987S I averaged under 14mpg. It's a fun car and I am going to use it. And I basically never drive on the highway for my commute.

I never drove the M3 for any extended period of time, but coincidentally, I know two people who own or owned both cars at (or almost) the same time and the guys who averaged 15-16mpg on their Boxsters were struggling to crack 14mpg on the M3 and almost never got 200mpg except during long hwy trips. That is also the perceived (by me) general concensus on the E9X M3.

Heck, I don't even drive my E91 (328iT M-sport RWD & stick) that hard and I barely crack 20mpg on average (as in 20.2). On the highway it does well and I get a 460-mile range doing 75-80 though hilly/mountainous northern New England.

If I'm driving in the highway much more than 50% of the time, I would never buy an M3.
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      06-20-2012, 11:05 PM   #54
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That's because you live in North-America, home of the oil $$$.

Elsewhere in the world, people pay 4 times the price of what you pay.
That's why they (including the German BMW) look at fuel economy, and other brands (like American Ford with their Mustang, which is not sold in Europe) keep 5L V8 in their cars.
I live in Canada where the M3 tops $80K including taxes and gas mostly hovers lately anywhere around $1.25 to $1.40/L. Where in Europe is gas 4x this price?

I don't know about Europe but here in North America anyone who can afford to buy an $80K+ car is not likely be worried about paying a few hundred or thousand or whatever extra per year for gas. It's not material within a demographic of rich people looking for ultra-performance cars to be worried about a few mpg difference.
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      06-21-2012, 12:34 AM   #55
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In the UK petrol is 1.40GBP per litre - approx $9 per gallon. In London and some European countries it can be even more expensive!
I'm sad to say that fuel economy is one of the reasons my E92 M3 will be probably traded for something a bit more pump friendly in the future - a 991 for example.
I can afford the petrol costs, and its the only downside of what is the best car I have ever had - but fuel has become so expensive here that for the first time in my car history (and I have had multiple M3s and Porsches) I actually will be considering the mpg for whatever I get next.
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      06-21-2012, 05:22 AM   #56
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As compared to traditional materials such as aluminum and steel, I still do suspect that materials costs are only a small consideration when weighed against fabrication and engineering costs. Hypothetically, what if we wanted to build a carbon fiber Hot Wheels car today? Let's say it cost $5 to produce where the current die-cast metal car might cost $1. In my mind, materials cost would account for perhaps $1 in the increase while R&D, manufacturing would account for the other $3. That's a silly example with some major SWAGs, but you can hopefully see what I am trying to say here.
You have this quite backwards.

Particularly with carbon fiber, as opposed to other composites such as glass fibers or others, material costs are almost for sure going to dominate total body manufacturing cost.

See the following from a pretty good MIT PhD thesis from 2006. Although you could certainly argue/debate/refute some specifics, the overall result that costs are material driven are clear and the ratio is not close nor small. Reference: fuchs.pdf. This is assuming 100k units/year which is right in line with the M3's target volume. It is key to note that the author assumes CF prices of right about $10/lb. Even if BMW reached their goal of $5/lb my conclusion is still valid but it is much closer to break even. Surprise, surprise... This observation dovetails very nicely with this $5/lb goal stated by BMW&SGL. Similar results should follow for components as well as long as aerospace type manufacturing methods are not used. The results may or may not follow for radically different manufacturing methods such as pultrusion or filament winding, etc. that might be used for non BIW type shapes. My gut tells me though that the same conclusion would still follow.

One other relevant data point is that McLaren can now manufacture the MP4-12C composite body in just 4 hours. Your thoughts may be guided by examples like an F1 car taking 3000 hours to manufacture or a MB SLR McLaren at 500 hours.

Lastly this work fully validates my "back of the envelope" estimates that it would cost around $1000 to save around 300 lb although this work seems to puts the 300 lb estimate closer to 500 lb, but again this is at the higher $10/lb figure. I'll easily take 50% or so accuracy for 5 minutes of work vs. perhaps 80% accuracy for many years of work (on a PhD...)
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      06-21-2012, 07:15 AM   #57
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You have this quite backwards.

Particularly with carbon fiber, as opposed to other composites such as glass fibers or others, material costs are almost for sure going to dominate total body manufacturing cost.

See the following from a pretty good MIT PhD thesis from 2006. Although you could certainly argue/debate/refute some specifics, the overall result that costs are material driven are clear and the ratio is not close nor small. Reference: fuchs.pdf. This is assuming 100k units/year which is right in line with the M3's target volume. It is key to note that the author assumes CF prices of right about $10/lb. Even if BMW reached their goal of $5/lb my conclusion is still valid but it is much closer to break even. Surprise, surprise... This observation dovetails very nicely with this $5/lb goal stated by BMW&SGL. Similar results should follow for components as well as long as aerospace type manufacturing methods are not used. The results may or may not follow for radically different manufacturing methods such as pultrusion or filament winding, etc. that might be used for non BIW type shapes. My gut tells me though that the same conclusion would still follow.

One other relevant data point is that McLaren can now manufacture the MP4-12C composite body in just 4 hours. Your thoughts may be guided by examples like an F1 car taking 3000 hours to manufacture or a MB SLR McLaren at 500 hours.

Lastly this work fully validates my "back of the envelope" estimates that it would cost around $1000 to save around 300 lb although this work seems to puts the 300 lb estimate closer to 500 lb, but again this is at the higher $10/lb figure. I'll easily take 50% or so accuracy for 5 minutes of work vs. perhaps 80% accuracy for many years of work (on a PhD...)
Considering the whole side of an i3 life module can be supported by an index finger (I would bet it weighs in at max 30 lbs.) so what is that $150 per side? That's dirt cheap. A pound of CF is a lot of material compared to a pound of cold pressed steal (looking at you fat F10). If you look at your study they in 2006 were using this "Carbon Fiber: $11.05/kg" (which is $5/lb) and I can tell you BMW is way way under that for the CF.

What I was told by BMW was that the biggest difference aside from producing cheaper material bc of energy costs in savings was the less time and energy required to produce the parts with their molding/resin process, making them much much cheaper. Requires less equipment, less heat, less electric less of everything and makes the operating costs less of an issue. They are also using the cut fabric scraps (non chopped) for other parts- basically they cut everything like a giant jigsaw so true scraps are minimum and they get the most out the CF fabric as possible.

At the end of the day things are going to happen, they have made huge gains and the future products will be the better for it. I can't wait!

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      06-21-2012, 09:37 AM   #58
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You have this quite backwards.

Particularly with carbon fiber, as opposed to other composites such as glass fibers or others, material costs are almost for sure going to dominate total body manufacturing cost.

See the following from a pretty good MIT PhD thesis from 2006.
This is an interesting study.

The first thing that comes to mind here is what exactly constitutes raw material. When speaking about the costs up until now, I was imagining the material costs of CF to be only that of the actual carbon itself (or carbon compound as it may be - I don't know the specifics of that) - not the costs associated with refining it into a useable fiber or weave of fibers. I.e. I was considering the latter to be associated with manufacturing or production, not material itself.

In other words, there is something of an apples to oranges comparison here. Do you see what I am referring to? A bit like comparing the cost of wood to the cost of paper. Or perhaps, like comparing the cost of cotton fabric to the cost of corn.
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      06-21-2012, 04:13 PM   #59
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Considering the whole side of an i3 life module can be supported by an index finger (I would bet it weighs in at max 30 lbs.) so what is that $150 per side? That's dirt cheap. A pound of CF is a lot of material compared to a pound of cold pressed steal (looking at you fat F10). If you look at your study they in 2006 were using this "Carbon Fiber: $11.05/kg" (which is $5/lb) and I can tell you BMW is way way under that for the CF.
Full CF chassis can be quite light. One person can lift the entire MP4-12C chassis. Components even more so, no debate there. The study discussed $11/kg but actually used $22/kg which is about $10/lb. That is also the figure I used. I suspect BMW is around $5/lb now but definitely not way below that. If they were cars would very rapidly be all going to a very high composite content. It will be rolled out slowly as the volume/cost curve can be worked. Either way they are not going to be adding significantly to cost, either at the component level or BIW level. That just is not sound business.

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What I was told by BMW was that the biggest difference aside from producing cheaper material bc of energy costs in savings was the less time and energy required to produce the parts with their molding/resin process, making them much much cheaper. Requires less equipment, less heat, less electric less of everything and makes the operating costs less of an issue. They are also using the cut fabric scraps (non chopped) for other parts- basically they cut everything like a giant jigsaw so true scraps are minimum and they get the most out the CF fabric as possible.
No disagreement there. The study shows this as well.

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This is an interesting study.

The first thing that comes to mind here is what exactly constitutes raw material. When speaking about the costs up until now, I was imagining the material costs of CF to be only that of the actual carbon itself (or carbon compound as it may be - I don't know the specifics of that) - not the costs associated with refining it into a useable fiber or weave of fibers. I.e. I was considering the latter to be associated with manufacturing or production, not material itself.

In other words, there is something of an apples to oranges comparison here. Do you see what I am referring to? A bit like comparing the cost of wood to the cost of paper. Or perhaps, like comparing the cost of cotton fabric to the cost of corn.
Carbon fiber must indeed come from raw sources of carbon. Heck if you could get the carbon from CO2 you could then call the CF free by your point of view! The fibers themselves are produced and then typically woven into mats. Adhesives are also considered part of the composite material cost. I'm pretty sure that most figures of cost/lb are in fact for woven products, excluding binders/adhesives and the vast majority of that cost is the fiber manufacturing itself. I certainly agree that you can not say that the cost of paper is the same as the cost of wood but I don't see how that impacted this disagreement. Either way the conclusion firmly stands that for the automotive industry (and many others) the cost of introducing CF is driven by raw material cost.
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      06-21-2012, 07:35 PM   #60
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Either way the conclusion firmly stands that for the automotive industry (and many others) the cost of introducing CF is driven by raw material cost.
My point, swamp, was that going back to my Hot Wheels example, I would have figured that a good sized chunk of that $3 cost was making the carbon fiber from the raw carbon to begin with. I.e. in applying the term too loosely (and naively I suppose), I had thrown monies associated with this process into the manufacturing bucket.
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      06-22-2012, 01:41 AM   #61
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I think the guess of 3600 lbs and 450hp will be more or less accurate. As for power to ratio being well below current M5/M6. Then I highly doubt that. Because BMW tends to keep M5/M6 a step higher to justify the increased asking price.

So even though M3 will be fast it will not be quicker then the M5/M6. I believe it will be a better track machine then M6/M5 and will have better fuel economy.
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      06-22-2012, 09:44 PM   #62
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I think the guess of 3600 lbs and 450hp will be more or less accurate. As for power to ratio being well below current M5/M6. Then I highly doubt that. Because BMW tends to keep M5/M6 a step higher to justify the increased asking price.

So even though M3 will be fast it will not be quicker then the M5/M6. I believe it will be a better track machine then M6/M5 and will have better fuel economy.
It will probably be either a drivers race or computer race (whichever car has the best launch control software...) up to 60 or 80 mph. Then the M5 will dominate.
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      06-24-2012, 08:33 PM   #63
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In the UK petrol is 1.40GBP per litre - approx $9 per gallon. In London and some European countries it can be even more expensive!
I'm sad to say that fuel economy is one of the reasons my E92 M3 will be probably traded for something a bit more pump friendly in the future - a 991 for example.
I can afford the petrol costs, and its the only downside of what is the best car I have ever had - but fuel has become so expensive here that for the first time in my car history (and I have had multiple M3s and Porsches) I actually will be considering the mpg for whatever I get next.
So let me get this straight... because of fuel economy, you say you're probably trading in your M3 for a Porsche 991? Last I checked, they were completely different type and class of cars. The difference is, what... 5L/100KM at the very best? I'm in the market for an M3 but no way am I cross-shopping it for a Porsche 991 type/class of car.

Lets do some quick math... a 5L/100KM fuel economy difference translates to an extra 1,000L if you were to drive a hypothetical 20,000KM per year. At 1.4 GBP/L (your rate) this translates to 1,400 GBP per year or less than 4 GBP per day which wouldn't buy you a McDonalds hamburger in London.

So you're telling me that you're considering trading in your 60,000 GBP M3 for a 100,000 GBP Porsche to save 4 GBP of petro per day? Is this serious?

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      06-26-2012, 12:11 AM   #64
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So let me get this straight... you're telling me that you're considering trading in your 60,000 GBP M3 for a 100,000 GBP Porsche to save 4 GBP of petro per day? Is this serious?
Great post, even if I didn't check your math...
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      07-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #65
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If I'm driving in the highway much more than 50% of the time, I would never buy an M3.
Not sure if you were impying but i dont really drive highway with the car. The roads around me are 40-45 mph zones, which is why i get to cruise at 50mph. I mostly drive it work which is all backroads at that speed....great for motorcycle also. It's not highway but suburban routes. The other 5%of the time is mixed slower streets (alot of stopping) and highway driving, which i range anywhere from 70-80 with ocassional bursts of 100+ but really rare.
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      07-10-2012, 10:18 AM   #66
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I cannot imagine the car dropping 220+ pounds. That is A LOT of weight. I remember yanking my evo apart and cutting bolts shorter and removing crash beams and still only got about 95 pounds out of the car. With standards from the government, if the car loses weight I would be impressed.

Remember, with cheaper parts comes louder road noise, humming and other annoying things that the M3 currently does not have.

If they do manage to lose 220+ pounds, they would have to use MORE carbon fiber... More CF = more $$ I will take a bump in HP over the drop in weight.
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