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There's been plenty of talk about carmakers moving to lighter materials like carbon fiber to reduce weight, improve fuel economy and enhance the driving experience. Two years ago, Honda and Nissan formed a consortium to research the mass-market implementation of carbon fiber. Last year, BMW launched its own joint venture to do the same. Lamborghini joined the party when it opened its own CF research center earlier this year. In practice, though, use of composites for large panels is still limite

There's been plenty of talk about carmakers moving to lighter materials like carbon fiber to reduce weight, improve fuel economy and enhance the driving experience. Two years ago, Honda and Nissan formed a consortium to research the mass-market implementation of carbon fiber. Last year, BMW launched its own joint venture to do the same. Lamborghini joined the party when it opened its own CF research center earlier this year. In practice, though, use of composites for large panels is still limite

BMW Megacity – Click above for high-res image

Lamborghini's Advanced Composite Research Center – Click above for high-res image gallery

BMW has been making some headlines over the past few months with its commitment to carbon fiber construction, opening a joint-venture production facility in Washington State and teasing the upcoming Megacity EV as the first mass-produced carbon fiber vehicle. But there's always a back story to the headlines.

BMW has been making some headlines over the past few months with its commitment to carbon fiber construction, opening a joint-venture production facility in Washington State and teasing the upcoming Megacity EV as the first mass-produced carbon fiber vehicle. But there's always a back story to the headlines.

BMW Megacity Vehicle – Click above for high-res image gallery

BMW M3 with carbon fiber components – Click above for high-res image gallery

BMW and Mercedes are leading the way in using carbon fiber to reduce weight in future passenger vehicles. Losing pounds can also be key to meet upcoming CAFE regulations and can also help increase the range electric vehicles can travel. The shift towards carbon fiber will probably become more widespread throughout the automotive industry as companies realize the weight-saving benefits of this product versus steel. Though carbon fiber is touted for its low weight, a new report by Toyota and repor

What goes around comes around. Ferrari broke ground in the supercar sphere with the 288 GTO and F40, which both used twin-turbo V8 powertrains. The subsequent F50 and Enzo went with V12s, and the 599's mill was based off the Enzo's. But the next model in Ferrari's range-topping mid-engine exotic line will go back to the twin-spool eight-pot.

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

Atomik Cars 500 – Click above for high-res image gallery

2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

Carbon fiber has been a big success in the automotive aftermarket for years now. From interior trim pieces to strut bars on down to spoilers, the material is extremely popular and for many reasons. First, it's lightweight yet very strong. Second, it just plain looks good. And finally, it begs for attention from other car enthusiasts. While the aftermarket has been hot for this stuff for some time now, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have not exactly warmed up to widespread use of the spa

BMW has just announced that the company will join forces with Seattle-based SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC to build a new manufacturing facility in Moses Lake, Washington. Don't get too excited just yet. The plant won't be cranking out CF bits for your 3 Series so that you can have a roof that looks like the one on your neighbor's M3 (shown above). Instead, BMW says the $100 million facility will be creating carbon-fiber reinforced plastics for the upcoming Megacity vehicle. At the same time,

Carbon fiber has long been heralded as a wonder material for the automotive industry due to its inherent strength and light weight. Despite this favorable strength-to-weight ratio and the fact that it's now been around for decades in one form or another, the composite has yet to see widespread use in our cars and trucks. There are a number of reasons for this, including the well-known duo of cost and manufacturing difficulties.

Carbon fiber has long been heralded as a wonder material for the automotive industry due to its inherent strength and light weight. Despite this favorable strength-to-weight ratio and the fact that it's now been around for decades in one form or another, the composite has yet to see widespread use in our cars and trucks. There are a number of reasons for this, including the well-known duo of cost and manufacturing difficulties.

Before BMW gives Americans the chance to drive ultimate urban commuter machines in the shape of its upcoming sub-branded Megacity EV, it will be giving them something else in high demand: jobs. The carbon-fiber that will be used to lightweight the vehicles will be made at a plant in Washington state by SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, a joint venture between BMW and SGL Group. The location was chosen, BMW says, because of its skilled workforce, the availability of clean, low-cost hydropower and oth

A report from Washington State television station KXLY claims that BMW is looking to build another manufacturing facility in North America, but it doesn't appear to be a vehicle assembly plant. The TV station claims BMW and partner SGL Group will announce plans to build a carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, WA within the next few days or weeks. The site would reportedly bring 200 jobs and $200 million to the region; very good news in an economic downturn. BMW officials had reportedly touched down

A report from Washington State television station KXLY claims that BMW is looking to build another manufacturing facility in North America, but it doesn't appear to be a vehicle assembly plant. The TV station claims BMW and partner SGL Group will announce plans to build a carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, WA within the next few days or weeks. The site would reportedly bring 200 jobs and $200 million to the region; very good news in an economic downturn. BMW officials had reportedly touched down

If there's one thing that's certain in this crazy world we live in, it's that Ultimate Driving Machines are driven by their rear wheels. Sure, there's an occasional all-wheel drive model thrown in for good measure, but even those revert to the tried-and-true RWD when extra traction from the front two contact patches isn't deemed necessary or desirable. Well, alert the media (oh, wait...): BMW has confirmed the rumors that it will build front-wheel drive automobiles.

Bugatti Grand Sport in carbon fiber – Click above for high-res image gallery

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