3D metal printing arrives in mass production. This is the case in aeronautics and now in the automotive sector. These are still only relatively limited series, but 3D printing is progressing among industrialists. Introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the roadster version of the BMW i8 now includes 3D-printed aluminum parts in its roof-folding mechanism, one of the technologies that keeps this sporty hybrid lightweight and 2.1-litre/100 fuel consumption, barely more than the fixed-roofed model.
BMW opts for 3D metal printing and innovative materials to save weight
With its removable roof, the BMW i8 roadster is expected to be a hit with rich enthusiasts of spor
ty convertibles who want to protect the environment. Equipped with a small 1.5-litre turbocharged 231 hp three-cylinder engine, this roadster has added power in a 143 hp electric drive. This roadster can drive 53 km in electric mode. In order to contain the weight of its new model, BMW has designed a chassis made of aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) so that with 1.5 tons on the scale, the roadster weighs only 60 kg more than the coupe, despite the weight of the roof folding system in the rear trunk. To lighten this system, BMW chose 3D printing and a bio-inspired design to create the attachments for this mobile roof.
If this roadster version will probably have only been built a few thousand times a year, this is the real beginning of 3D metal printing on production vehicles.
Translation : Deepl
Source: “The new BMW i8 Roadster, the new BMW i8 Coupe”, press release BMW, 29 November 2017