Vehicles under Volkswagen AG may become the first automobiles to come with original equipment carbon fiber wheels as the auto giant has started prototype testing with Maxion Wheels and ThyssenKrupp Carbon Components' carbon fiber wheels.
The Brazilian wheel maker first established a 'cooperation agreement' with the German multinational's carbon fiber manufacturing firm as a way to develop and market new lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber hybrid wheels for the premium vehicle market.
The two companies aim to make a product that will be 40% lighter than forged aluminum wheels but will have quality and style as well. Both Maxion and ThyssenKrupp will also be working closely with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) so as to make appropriate solutions for their own specific needs.
“With carbon fiber-aluminum hybrid wheels we offer a unique option to our customers in the luxury and sports car segment to differentiate themselves through technology and design. The cooperation agreement with Maxion Wheels marks an important milestone in the development of our carbon fiber wheel technology. It shows the technological maturity we have reached and combines our innovations with the leading player in the wheel industry. Commercialization is the logical next step,” said Dr. Jens Werner, Managing Director at ThyssenKrupp Carbon Components.
Public road tests of the wheel yielded good results according to ThyssenKrupp as it showed improved performance as well as better damping and reduced vibration and road noise. The wheels that the companies have tested were designed for use on luxury cars and SUVs.
“The aluminum/carbon fiber hybrid wheels we develop through our cooperation with ThyssenKrupp will fill an important niche in the ultra-lightweight vehicle market. It will benefit our customers by expanding our already extensive range of products and capabilities, while enhancing our leadership position in the industry,” said Kai Kronenberg, Vice President of Business Development & Global Innovation at Maxion Wheels.
The company has not yet released an exact date on when will the wheels be launched.