Making cars as light as practically possible is the aim of engineers since a lighter car means that the output of the engine can generate better performance while fuel efficiency will also be better. Apart from designing structures to be lighter (but still strong), new materials also help to reduce weight and a popular material is carbonfibre. This is a type of plastic which is reinforced with carbon fibres to give strength and can be used in many parts of a car.
Porsche is the world’s first vehicle manufacturer to offer lightweight wheels with braided carbonfibre. Carbon, the characteristically black high-tech material, can be fully appreciated with a protective layer of clear lacquer. The innovative wheels weigh around 8.5 kgs less than standard alloy wheels, which is a reduction of 20%. They are also 20% stronger.
With a reduced unsprung weight, the tyres trail the surface of the road better and are perfectly optimised for absorbing longitudinal and lateral forces. Lower rotating masses mean more spontaneity both in acceleration and braking. The result is increased driving dynamics and driving pleasure.
Manufactured entirely from carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP), the wheel is essentially made of two components. The wheel centre is made from carbonfibre fabric (this involves cutting and assembling over 200 individual components) and the second component is the rim base made from braided carbonfibre by what is currently the world’s largest carbonfibre braiding machine with a diameter of approximately 9 metres.
The wheel centre is then braided into the rim base. The assembled wheel is impregnated with resin and pre-hardened at high pressure and high temperatures. The finished wheel is hardened at high temperatures followed by a long cooling process. The central lock is then inserted into the finished wheel and the wheel is protected with clear lacquer.
This extremely complex braiding technology offers key advantages over the more conventional method of manufacturing pre-impregnated carbonfibre fabric: This production technique makes the material structure of the carbon considerably denser and more compact. This increases rigidity. Using the material more efficiently also produces less waste. The new carbon wheel is made from a total of 18 kms carbonfibre or 8 square metres of carbonfibre fabric.
From the beginning of 2018, the new wheels will be available as an option for the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series in the dimensions of 9Jx20 for the front axle and 11.5Jx20 for the rear axle. They are not cheap, of course, and in Germany, one wheel will cost 3,808 euros (about RM19,230) so a set of four would be about RM77,000!