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BMW Introduces GINA Concept Car, Covered In Fabric

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the bend-me-shape-me dept.

Transportation 347

smithtuna33 writes "Ever wondered what the metal skin on your car is actually good for? Engineers at BMW have decided that fabric might work just as well. The doors literally peel away from the side of the car, the engine bay opens up down the middle, and pretty much everything (such as headlamps) is hidden until the fabric reveals it. It is a stunning concept that has already been influencing BMW's designs. The video is well worth watching."

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Appropriate name (5, Funny)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742913)

I'd call a car made out of nice fabrics a 'gina too!

Re:Appropriate name (5, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743145)

I'd call a car made out of nice fabrics a 'gina too!
A vagina analogy in a car forum! Welcome to dotslash!

I swear that technology like this is the reason that I am studying to become an engineer. Not only to help design them, which I would love to do, but to afford them when they become available. Expect to see me first in line when this technology becomes available in a consumer vehicle.

Re:Appropriate name (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743221)

Engineers don't make that much money. Get a business degree.

Re:Appropriate name (2, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743227)

Engineers don't make that much money. Get a business degree.
Better still, get both. Or just the first and then go into business.

Re:Appropriate name (4, Funny)

enoz (1181117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743765)

A vagina analogy in a car forum! Welcome to dotslash!
Actually I'd say it was a car analogy in a forum full of cunts.

Re:Appropriate name (5, Funny)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743849)

Well, they could have redesigned their logo to match, but another company already uses it [photobucket.com] ...

Tm

Finally.. (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742917)

the skinnable car!

Re:Finally.. (5, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742965)

Just having watched the vid, it's quite a cool concept. Though I can well imagine a jealous walker-by accidentally slashing it with his pocket knife. That would ruin it a bit methinks.

Re:Finally.. (5, Interesting)

bruins01 (992422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743069)

What you're suggesting is the fabric analog of getting keyed. I imagine repairing a tear caused by a key, or a pocketknife, or a rock on the freeway, would be a lot less expensive if the repair consists only of replacing a piece of fabric.

I'm more concerned about security. Would this feature make it easier to break into my car? Would it make it easier to sabotage or steal from my engine? My gas tank?

Re:Finally.. (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743103)

My gas tank?
You mean your liquid hydrogen tank? Or batteries? ;)

Re:Finally.. (1)

1336 (898588) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743869)

My gas tank?
You mean your liquid hydrogen tank? Or batteries? ;)
Metallic hydrogen fuel cells. Duh! ^_-

Re:Finally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743667)

sure, I'll cut the door to enter in a coupe car.

Re:Finally.. (3, Insightful)

xalorous (883991) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743857)

I think you mean convertible.

Convertibles have had problems with people cutting the top since they started having ragtops.

Modern convertible tops are very difficult to cut. I'd imagine that a production version would be at least as resilient. However, when you RTFA you'll find that you won't be driving this car. It's a one-off concept bound directly for the museum.

The car was built as an exercise in creativity.

Re:Finally.. (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743095)

JThough I can well imagine a jealous walker-by accidentally slashing it with his pocket knife.

There are already plenty of fabrics which are resistant to casual slashes, and some in the pipeline which are even more durable [slashdot.org] .

Vandals can already do a significant amount of damage to a painted metal car body with a knife or even a coin. If the repair costs of the fabric are competitive with metal, it might even reduce costs over the life of the vehicle.

Re:Finally.. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743487)

What would happen if a car made from the most durable fabric known to man crashed into a curtain made from the most durable fabric known to man?

Re:Finally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743845)

They would bend. :/

Re:Finally.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743879)

Both live, the man dies.

Re:Finally.. (3, Interesting)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743827)

That said any fabric under tension is going to have a tendency to rapid failure as it is cut. A scratch on metal is a minor cosmetic flaw, a cut in stretched fabric is a gaping wound. And I don't think I've ever encountered ANY fabric that can't be cut with a sharp enough knife, if there was such a thing it would be unworkable.

Re:Finally.. (5, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743219)

Great! Now the kids are gonna want designer 'clothes' for their cars.
A Ralph Lauren skin, or a Prada Skin, and even some of those ludicrous-speed expensive handbags.
I can see the fashion shows being conducted on *actual* runways.... 'Oh the humanity....

-I am sure Larry Flynt has some creative ideas for 'skin' designs for his new BMW 'GINA car too... a very slippery slope... LOL (Cool, I just made a Double Entendre!)

It winked! (4, Funny)

mortonda (5175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742943)

Any car that winks at you has to be taken seriously... ;)

Re:It winked! (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742975)

On the youtube link someone posted a comment I had to quote: people dont want a car that feels like a condom. ROFL

Re:It winked! (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743111)

people dont want a car that feels like a condom

BMW drivers do.

They're all dicks.

Re:It winked! (5, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743337)

What's the difference between a porcupine and a BMW?

The porcupine has its pricks on the outside.

Re:It winked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743859)

of course! [youtube.com]

Keying (0, Redundant)

JamesTheBoilermaker (822315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742945)

I'd hate to see that car after someone keys it.

Re:Keying (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743365)

Its considerably harder to damage fabric with a key, its more likely that car knifing will become a hobby for the socially maladjusted members of society.

Re:Keying (5, Interesting)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743499)

I tested this theory by keying my jeans... while it somewhat hurt my thigh, the cloth was quite unaffected.

My conclusion: cloth is more resistant to minor cosmetic damage than painted sheet metal, and harder to cut than flash.*

Seriously though, cloth is actually quite resistant to things like impact and scratching, which to me sounds like a great reason to make parts which are really prone to little other than cosmetic damage out of it (keep in mind that in a serious accident, the damage which we are concerned with is not to the painted sheet metal on the outside, it's to the frame and chassis... if those are essentially undamaged, then any damage is really just cosmetic). Even a flimsy t-shirt requires some serious twisting or a tremendous amount of blunt trauma to take any noticeable damage, and something like canvas is substantially tougher, not to mention Kevlar and other synthetics which are highly resistant even to sharp trauma.

*Do not try this at home, goodness knows I didn't. All experimental data is fabricated... get it ated. I crack myself up.

Sounds interesting... (1)

JediLow (831100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742951)

but call me stuck - I just can't get over the thought that the fabric can't keep the car as safe as metal does.


I can see some of the benefits - you won't have to worry about dents and the such, but the isn't the possibility of having something tear right through the fabric pretty high (if you hit something on the highway the kinetic energy on it is rather high)?

Re:Sounds interesting... (3, Interesting)

mortonda (5175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743001)

A lot of people are questioning the crash safety, but the metal skin of a car doesn't really have anything to do with that anyway. Stuff flying up on the road could be a problem, though it seems like that stuff always hits and chips the windshield.

I think the most obvious danger would be someone taking a knife to the skin to break into the car and hotwire it. Or is this material stronger than that?

Re:Sounds interesting... (1)

JamesTheBoilermaker (822315) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743127)

It wouldn't be a greater break-in risk than a convertible. It looks like there is a part of the frame in the middle of the door, so it would be tough to actually get though the door.
I wonder if they could make a security system to detect cuts in the fabric.

Re:Sounds interesting... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743829)

You could pass a current through a properly treated fabric, and detect changes in resistance to determine if the fabric has been cut.

Alternatively, there are fabrics currently being tested to replace Kevlar that are extremely flexible until impacted by force (try to stab a knife through a shirt made of the material, and it becomes hard as a rock). Perhaps that property has something to be offered in a cloth skin of a vehicle?

Re:Sounds interesting... (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743181)



I think the most obvious danger would be someone taking a knife to the skin to break into the car and hotwire it. Or is this material stronger than that?


That problem already exists with convertibles today. Besides, I imagine the wires could still be protected by something more than just fabric.

Re:Sounds interesting... (2, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743533)

I think the most obvious danger would be someone taking a knife to the skin to break into the car and hotwire it.

How often does that happen with soft-tops?

Re:Sounds interesting... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743067)

Its not said anywhere that the inner panels of the car are missing just the outterskin of metal is replaced with fabric. Crash protection is usually a function of inner frames and panels then anything we see on a car as we look it from the outside.

Re:Sounds interesting... (2, Informative)

JediLow (831100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743139)

To reply to some of my questions about it: "The special fabric is supported by a metal wire structure. At specific points, the high-strength metal is enhanced by carbon struts with a higher flexibility. They are used predominantly for round, moving contours with a particularly narrow radius."

Taken from the press release found here [worldcarfans.com]

Re:Sounds interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743433)

I don't see why this would be an issue.

airplanes used to be covered in fabric, so where airships. I know you can make bullet proof fabrics and most projectiles you would find on the freeway would be traveling much slower than that.
Otherwise we would be hearing about motorcyclists being fatally injured br gravel a lot more frequently.

Chances are that small things, and even larger rocks would bounce off the thing, especially as the surface appears to be stretchable. Note I know I have seen Cars which where essentially a steel frame with a heavy canvas cover zipped over the top.

Gentlemen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23742961)

Behold! The future is now!

Very cool (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23742983)

The video is really cool, but was it a real car or a computer model? And I wonder how the fabric behaves at high speeds. And how do you wash the car? I have loads of other questions but I think the concept is fantastic. Cars that can change shape! Mmmmm... :)

Re:Very cool (4, Funny)

mortonda (5175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743009)

Gives a new concept to Transformers, doesn't it? They can now wear clothes!

Re:Very cool (2, Interesting)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743045)

I wonder if it would shrink in the rain...

Re:Very cool (1)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743363)

More like Transvestites. "More than meets the eye!"

Re:Very cool (5, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743437)

"Bumblebee! Put some pants on! I can see your 'Cybertron'!"

Re:Very cool (2, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743029)

And how do you wash the car?
Take it to the dry cleaner?

Re:Very cool (1)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743147)

Nah... Use Woolite and hand wash it. It's cheaper. Besides, those dry cleaner hangars will keep screwing up the lines of the car, and you'll get that "We're sorry, we tried and tried to get that bug juice off the grill but no matter what we did we couldn't" sucks-to-be-you sticker on it.

Re:Very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743339)

Nah... Use Woolite and hand wash it. It's cheaper.

Your such a fag.

Re:Very cool (2, Funny)

carlvlad (942493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743039)

And what's even cooler is when the colour fades out after years of washing, it's like having a repaint job!

Re:Very cool (2, Informative)

JediLow (831100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743043)

Check out the video thats linked to it - there's some footage of an actual car (which is covered, so we can't tell for sure if it really is the skinned GINA).

Re:Very cool (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743061)

As far as fabric behaving at high speeds, many early (and not so early) planes used fabric for the wing and fuselage coverings.

Re:Very cool (1)

alxtoth (914920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743093)

In today's car the impact protection comes from the chassy, not from the outer tin-shell. Probably same goes here.
If an object would tear the fabric, maybe you can fix it yourself with two plastures. Just be careful to place them accurately at 90 degrees, so it looks like Tom & Jerry cartoons :-)

hope they thought this through (5, Insightful)

immakiku (777365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743023)

So the chassis is still rigid right? Imagine unintentional impacts with external objects. The skin was meant to be protection for the car and driver. Flying rocks, small animals while the car is parked, pranksters, and thieves of engine parts make this not work so well. As well psychologically the driver will feel less protected in this new concept of a fabric skin. Imagine if your house was made out of cardboard... On the other hand I always like making cars lighter. I can see this becoming the norm if all the kinks are worked out.

Re:hope they thought this through (5, Funny)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743085)

I can see this becoming the norm if all the kinks are worked out.

It's fabric. The kinks don't get worked out, they get ironed out. Pay attention.

Re:hope they thought this through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743535)

Imagine the dry cleaning bill.

1. Walks into a dry clean shop.
2. Points to the parking lot when asked what needs to be cleaned.
3. ???
4. Holy cow! Minus profit!!!

Re:hope they thought this through (3, Informative)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743141)

They said in TFA that the shell is NOT part of the crash design, that the space frame takes all this into account, so there is not much purpose left for the shell... Small rocks though... stone chips would be game over! I guess the aerodynamics would be interesting too. Maybe at high speeds you could tighten the fabric up, stretch it so it doesn't deform?

Re:hope they thought this through (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743383)

Small rocks though... stone chips would be game over!
You forgot to mention porcupines, echidnas, hedgehogs, deer with sharpened antlers..

Re:hope they thought this through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743191)

Yap, yap, yap. Look at me, I'm on /. and don't know what I'm talking about but will comment like an expert anyway.

Oh, and your home is probably only one step up from cardboard. You'd be surprised how many average American homes can be infiltrated with a razor knife applied at just the right spot.

Re:hope they thought this through (2, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743195)

Dunno, there are some tough fabrics out there. Ever hear of Kevlar? Last time I checked bullets go through car doors but not Kevlar.

Re:hope they thought this through (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743213)

I think the point is they already designed a fabric.

Re:hope they thought this through (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743343)

Kevlar fabric (at least in the bulletproof form) isn't fabric as we usually think of it - it is thick and not very flexible at all.

Re:hope they thought this through (3, Informative)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743775)

I wear a kevlar vest as part of my job and while thick, it is flexible.

Re:hope they thought this through (4, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743305)

So the chassis is still rigid right?
Yes, but after you've had it in overdrive for any length of time it suddenly goes limp for at least 10 minutes.

Re:hope they thought this through (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743387)

Well, the reason it's easy to chip car paint is because it's hard. A flexible but durable surface might be a lot harder to damage from small, flying objects. As for safety, are you seriously asking if the car is only made from fabric, with no other structural protection?

Re:hope they thought this through (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743455)

psychologically the driver will feel less protected in this new concept of a fabric skin.
you say that like it's a bad thing. As a result of feeling less safe, people will drive more safely.

put a big spike on every steering wheel, aimed right at the driver's neck. put one of these in every car and people will drive a whole lot better.

Re:hope they thought this through (4, Funny)

dlevitan (132062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743463)

small animals while the car is parked
The car is parked in a driveway. A cat jumps onto the hood expecting a nice warm sunny place. Next thing it knows, the hood opens up, swallows the cat, the car emits a nice burp, and your gas tank increases by a few gallons. Sounds good to me :).

Re:hope they thought this through (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743867)

I would like to know how much new car "skin" would pay when you need to replace it every 1000km when sharp stone hits it and makes small hole what will expand in time.

Or what you do when it gets dirty? You take it off and put it washing machine with other your laundry?

I have sprayed factor on my car. It cost 500 euros but it is needed to do only every fourth year. It takes one day to get done, you drive your car to workshop, they wash car, wax it and then sprays the factor on it. After that, it can take hits from rocks or even knive. It protects the paint from bretty hard hits and it's totally transparent so it does not change the car look. After it's protecting paint, washing and everything else is much easier when the dirt does not get in the metal itself. It protects from rust too!

My car has stoled few times and last time someone tryed to get inside with screwdriver, he (or she) placed it to right door lock and hit inside with hammer. Few times the screwdriver slipped to paint and left bretty bad markins on it. I just needed to take cloath and polish that part and all marks were gone.

And now, even that looks very nice, it wouldn't be nice to see that one day you walk to your car and someone has opened your can with knive like tin can and stoled every part what is possible.

But hey, it's BMW and that car is meant to people who has enough money to have security on their parking lot or garage and they never leave car to place where normal people can get hands on it, so no street parking for lounch etc ;-)

I would understand that new materials would started to use in massproduction, like fibreclass or other what cant be set on fire, but so cheap that changing your car's "skin" does not mean 1/10th price of your car or it wouldn't cost much in ecological meaning.

I'll pass (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743047)

I would buy a Volkswagen beetle before I would buy one of those. I mean an OLD Volkswagen beetle.

Re:I'll pass (2, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743777)

I mean an OLD Volkswagen beetle.
I'm not a fan of Volkswagen, but it's hard to beat the old Beetle: low TCO, a ton of replacement and after-market parts, and an active fanbase.

Sure, I think the old Beetle looks dorky, but I'd choose one of those over a new sports car.

Yes. Seriously. :)

Wind Sail (1)

dutchct (673848) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743057)

very cool concept, but if you've ever taped some plastic to a smashed car window, you'll know this whole thing will turn into a sail when driven at any real speed.

Re:Wind Sail (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743367)

I think their fabric is a little more advanced than plastic sheet and sticky tape :o)

stupid? (0, Redundant)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743073)

Is it that hard to make the car lighter? You think fabric is going to help much in a collision? It's good in some places that are unimportant but not the doors! They should just use some sort of composite material that's light and strong or perhaps something with carbon and nanotubes in the name :D

Re:stupid? (1)

JediLow (831100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743097)

Or better yet - paper [slashdot.org]

Re:stupid? (3, Informative)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743107)

Are you saying that the thin sheet metal is providing the strength of the car? I was always under the impression that the frame was providing that rigidity of the car.

One Word... (1, Insightful)

xlsior (524145) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743079)

...Durability. Also, since the fabric ovviously stretches and such when opening the doors (looking at the video), I'd wonder how long it would keep its original shape, before it would stretch and start flapping & making noise when you're driving down the freeway. Not to mention that someone could rip up the entire 'skin' when keying your car, and a dab of paint won't be enough to fix that.

Re:One Word... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743235)

But on the same token, if someone "keyed" your car - all you have to do is theoritcally replace the skin which should be cheap. Two hours according to the Video. Much cheaper than 2 weeks of having the car prepped, repained and in the Oven.

It also alludes to the ability to quick change the color/fabric of your car. No more $7000 paint jobs to respray a car.

Re:One Word... (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743269)

A stitch in time saves 9 days at the body shop...

Re:One Word... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743519)

Also, since the fabric ovviously stretches and such when opening the doors (looking at the video), I'd wonder how long it would keep its original shape, before it would stretch and start flapping & making noise when you're driving down the freeway.
The skin on my BMW hangs loose, like Wizard's sleeve. Maybe I should trade it in for a newer model.

Re:One Word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743723)

What is best and cheaper to replace or fix?
A deep scratch in the paint of a metal panel?
Or a piece of fabric? They say they can change the fabric of the *whole* car in about 2 hours.

And would a fabric cover not better resist to, say, a supermarket trolley touching your car and cut let it slide along?

Also, IRL, how often does one's car get a scratch?

It is a radical concept, and needs refining and developing, but why this negative bias?

Haven't (1)

suburbanmediocrity (810207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743131)

planes and gliders been doing this since the late 1800's?

Re:Haven't (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743391)

Yes, but you don't park your plane in the high street on a saturday night. Here in England, that car would be naked within an hour.

Skin-schmin (4, Interesting)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743151)

First off it's a concept vehicle. The point is to try new things, good or bad, to see how it works.

Moving forward, the skin of this car is almost purely for aerodynamic effect. There is a certain amount of visual additive, and it keeps the wind and dirt off the occupants. In reference to other mechanical value, there are plenty of cars which have no skin at all and are faster than pretty much any other production road going vehicle. Ariel's Atom [arielmotor.co.uk] , to name one. Cars don't need skins. Hell, look at motorcycles. The passengers aren't even contained in the vehicle!

I think it's an awesome idea. Of course, my current roadster is paint chipped all to hell and being able to replace body panels of fabric would be rather appealing, but think about washing your car. Strip it down like bed sheets and throw the skin in the washing machine. Want a new paint job? Maybe a thousand dollars of fabric, or perhaps even just a dye job. You could change your car's color in a matter of minutes.

That brings up a really interesting point. How do the police identify cars? Color and shape? Well those two are irrelevant with this vehicle. You can change the shape while you're moving and theoretically the color in about 10 minutes, I figure. It goes into a parking garage as a red roadster and comes out as a green pickup truck.

Most importantly, and realistically, I'm sure the weight savings are impressive. And saving weight improves performance both in the go fast and the save fuel sense of the term. Imagine this combined with the Tesla Roadster. Shazam!

Re:Skin-schmin (2, Insightful)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743425)

It goes into a parking garage as a red roadster and comes out as a green pickup truck.
It goes in a GINA and comes out a GINA. Wait... that's just wrong!

Cheers!

Re:Skin-schmin (1)

Valdoran (887940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743595)

Good thing you didn't say "out of a GINA" then!

Re:Skin-schmin (3, Insightful)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743581)

That brings up a really interesting point. How do the police identify cars? Color and shape?
You identify it by the fact that it's the only expiramental car within a ten thousand mile radius with fabric where the sheet metal should be.

Re:Skin-schmin (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743621)

First off it's a concept vehicle. The point is to try new things, good or bad, to see how it works.
That doesn't mean we can't take the piss out of it on slashdot, does it?

Re:Skin-schmin (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743719)

I can't see how any fabric is going to have a lower coefficient of drag than clearcoat, so the only possible advantage with respect to drag is that you can do compound shapes more easily than you can with metal. The problem is this is BMW and it's going to be expensive no matter what so why not make it out of metal and gain the efficiency of ultra-smooth paint. I guess their engineers think they can gain more from lighter skin weight than is lost to friction?

fabric might yeild less friction (2, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743887)



It could be possible that the right type of fabric could reduce air friction. Although water and air turbulence is different, scientists have found that dolphin skin is faster underwater [iop.org] than smooth steel-hulled craft.

Weight reduction is more valuable to fuel efficiency than reducing wind resistance. Both are important, but the biggest hit on fuel economy is generating momentum from a stop. Reducing weight reduces the energy required to put a car in motion. A BMW is going to spend more fuel going 0-30 than wind drag at 60+.

Then there's also the advantage this design would have for active aerodynamics. With a fabric skin, the body could dynamically reshape itself to create downforce only when needed, etc.

Seth

Interesting concept... (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743165)

Which is exactly what that is, a concept, BMW comes up with an idea and floats it with the public to see what they think. Saturn did this with plastic bodies, "you'll never get a dinged door from a loose shopping cart.." While the metal skin of a car doesn't provide much protection, I bet it does add quite a bit to the weight of a car, and quite a bit of manufacturing (stamping, painting etc..) than a textile based covering.

At least they're thinking different.

Re:Interesting concept... (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743199)

At least they're thinking different.
They're in bed with Apple now?

Like any good looking lady.... (3, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743179)

I'd love to see this car in the shower. Or, at least for the instance of cars, either the front yard or the car wash.

How the hell would you wash these things? Something makes me think that a sponge and a hose just wouldn't cut it....

A ragtop... (0, Redundant)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743229)

Hmm, well, I can see that these ragtops will be very popular with petty criminals. Just zip her open and take whatever was left behind.

VLAD FARTED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743299)

Maybe if you had a diet that was a little bit more nutritious than cigarette butts and government cheese, you'd fart a little bit less, Lockwood

Paper vs Cast Iron vs GINA fabric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743311)

Why not paper thats stronger then cast iron? Coincidence on /.??? I think not! you know its going to happen colour your own car with crayons!!

Read the article (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743393)

It's not slashdotted and it's a very small article.


However, there's no suggestion that the Gina will lead directly to a production car in the short term. Instead, Bangle says that its principles have influenced the infamous 'flame-surfaced' styling of BMW's current crop... and will continue to do so.

Expect to see unusual-looking Beemers for a few years to come, then.


No, I am not new here and I have karma to burn. Go for it.

Flutter at high speeds? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743397)

I wonder how well this holds up under heavy aerodynamic load. Really not a new concept if you think about it: biplanes used "doped" fabric, but I think the "doping" made the fabric stiff, and there were plenty of ribs in the wings. Obvioulsy, a well constructed biplane with a stiff fabric covering the wings didn't have fluttering problems, but the fabric here is plainly not stiff.

Then, there is the vandalism problem people mentioned. It can't be any more prone to vandalism than a ragtop; just a lot more expensive to replace.

Easy car to steal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743461)

All you need is a knife to slit it open. Show cars are just that, for show. They're not practical at all.

mod uP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23743481)

Back to the DDR for BMW? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743575)

The Trabant was produced by the East German auto maker VEB.
Duroplast, a form of plastic containing resin strengthened by wool or cotton was used to save on expensive steel imports.
Does BMW like Duroplast?
Trabant 601LX Deluxe clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4VKVnq-GOY [youtube.com]

Vandalism... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743639)

What about vandalism? What happens when someone takes a key to this car or a box cutter? They open up your fabric and go to town on the inside of your vehicle.

safety (1)

kaushikram007 (1305037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23743733)

in case of a crash, the car itself can blow up in to a big air bag.so effectively it ll be a case of 2 big sponge balls colliding. ll look funny though!
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