General Motors is planning to roll out carbon-fiber wheels as optional equipment for its performance cars, though the timing is unclear.
GM would likely tap Australian company Carbon Revolution, which also provides carbon-fiber wheels for the Ford GT and the Mustang Shelby GT350R, as its supplier.
Cars like Cadillac’s V-Series models would be candidates, said William Rodgers, GM light polymer systems technical fellow, research and development. We expect the Chevy Camaro and Corvette would also get consideration, too.
“It’s a performance-driven execution,” Rodgers told Autoblog.
Carbon-fiber wheels are available in the aftermarket, but they’re rarely offered by an automaker. Though they’re expensive, they’re also lighter than other materials, and GM says it could reduce weight by 35 pounds per vehicle by using carbon fiber. It also improves driving dynamics since it’s stiffer and provides the wheels with lower unsprung and rotational mass.
GM is testing the wheels to see how they handle potholes and general wear-and-tear. It’s also examining repair costs, and Rodgers said simply replacing a damaged carbon-fiber wheel would be the likely strategy. The automaker expects the costs to come down as the material is used for more wheels on more cars.