BMW’s investor arm – iVentures – continues to expand its portfolio of companies with a new partnership. This week, BMW Group acquired a partnership with Bcomp, a Swiss company that develops sustainable reinforcement solutions. At the same time, the two companies are strengthening their partnership towards motorsport, Bcomp is now an official BMW M Motorsport partner with the new BMW M4 GT4 racing car. This collaboration will also start the development of renewable raw materials for components. In future car models.
Bcomp’s involvement with BMW began in 2019 when BMW Motorsport used its reinforcement solution in Formula E cars. The BMW iFE.20’s Flex Cooling Shaft made it the first BMW racing car with parts made from renewable plant fibers. Meanwhile, Bcomp-developed PowerRibs™ and ampliTex™ reinforcement solutions are made from natural compounds to replace selected carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) components in BMW M Motorsport’s DTM Turing cars.
As BMW is known for shifting technology from track to street, these new component technologies will find their way into BMW M models and BMW M performance parts as well. Franciscas Van Mill, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW M GmbH, said, “The product stability in the world of motorsports is also increasing significantly.”
Inspired by leaf veins, powerRibs ™ reinforcement technology developed by Bcomp maximizes stiffness with minimal weight by creating a 3D structure on one side of a thin-walled shell material. This enables a reduction in the amount of base material used, resulting in a reduction in weight, cost and consumables in production. ampliTex ™ Reinforcement adds a visible layer of flax fiber as a carbon-neutral substitute for conventional coating material.
Combining the two components can reduce the amount of plastic used for interior paneling by up to 70 percent and at the same time reduce CO.2 Emissions are about 60 percent. The result is a more durable vehicle component, whose failure mode has the added benefit of increasing safety compared to traditional composites. Natural-fiber composites lend themselves to use with classical motor sport accessories, such as the BMW M Performance Parts range.
BMW aims to reduce its vehicle life cycle carbon emissions by more than 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2019. So it is no surprise that BMW has been investing in research and development in the field of renewable materials for years.