Not known for its wheel technology, Porsche surprised observers when it announced that the company developed a carbon fiber wheel that will be offered as an option on the 2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S.
Porsche has developed a lightweight plastic wheel reinforced with carbon fiber. The big deal with this new wheel is that the composite will be 20% lighter than the traditional aluminum equivalent, weighing just 19 pounds. The company also claims that the wheel will be 20 percent stronger with over 200 carbon fibers woven into a complex pattern and sealed in place with resin. The company also says that this lighter and stronger wheel will mean better performance with faster braking, acceleration, and turning.
The carbon fiber wheels are woven together in a giant radial braiding machine 29.5 feet in diameter. Porsche claims that it is the world’s largest carbon fiber braiding machine. Over 200 individual strands are braided into rim before the resin is injected, cured, and a coat of lacquer is applied to emphasize the fiber pattern and protect the wheel from the elements.
Like all things Porsche, these new wheels won’t come cheap. Initial estimates target the price for a set of four in the $20,000 range.