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BMW designers at DesignworksUSA, the company’s satellite studio and design consultancy in California, turned their skills in working to design a new sled for the U.S. Men’s Bobsled Team headed to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
Applying processes similar to its vehicle development, the company says, BMW has paired intelligent lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, with optimized aerodynamics to design the new sled. Michael Scully, Creative Director, BMW Group DesignworksUSA, says “BMW EfficientDynamics techniques are at the heart of the sled’s design, making it sleeker, lighter and we hope faster: essentially a BMW on ice.”
BMW used its expertise in designing with carbon fiber “from BMW i, the company’s sustainable division, which designs strong, lightweight carbon fiber electric vehicles, “ the company says. It also relied on aerodynamic experience and the careful distribution of weight—a longtime BMW virtue.
“BMW was able to reconfigure the sled’s weight distribution to achieve an optimized balance of the regulations’ mandated sled weight. The result is a significantly lighter body shell with a low and centralized center of gravity.”
A prototype of the new sled ran on January 19 at the FIBT World Cup in Igls, Austria and finished 14 out of 30 teams at a contest in Switzerland. That result was not bad, designers say: the concept will be refined before the final sled is built.