Geelong firm’s lighter wheels ease EV “range anxiety”

A unique one-piece carbon fibre wheel produced by Geelong-based Carbon Revolution can extend the range of electric vehicles by more than 5%.

The innovative wheels are unmatched globally and the local firm counts some of the fastest street cars and most prestigious brands in the world among its customers, manufacturing high-performing wheels to match the specifications of metal counterparts, at nearly half the weight

Carbon fibre wheels make cars lighter, faster, quieter, and more fuel efficient, and Carbon Revolution CEO Jake Dingle says they can also help alleviate the pressing issue of “range anxiety” — the fear of running out of energy on a road trip that has dogged uptake of electric vehicles.

As global effort concentrates on extending the life of EV batteries, Mr Dingle says the unique carbon wheels can contribute to a prolonged range.

“In the order of a 5% range extension, 5%-plus potentially … that’s exactly what this technology can deliver,” Mr Dingle said in an interview with publication Forbes.

He noted this was significant “in a world where range is really the battle ground.”

Carbon fibre wheels are 40-50% lighter than aluminium wheels and require less energy to move a vehicle’s bulk and speed up and slow down.

“Just carrying less weight through the vehicle — rotating unsprung mass that sits below the suspension and rotates — it’s a real premium from its weight saving versus the static mass on the vehicle,” Mr Dingle said.

Debuting on the Australian Stock Exchange in November 2019, Carbon Revolution has successfully innovated, commercialised and industrialised the supply of carbon fibre wheels to the global automotive industry.

After clinching its first major contract with Ford in the US in 2014, supply deals with Ferrari and Renault followed, and the company developed wheels for the Chinook helicopter.

Earlier this year, Carbon Revolution successfully raised $95 million from investors to fund construction of Phase 1 of its first “mega-line” production system which will vastly increase production of its carbon fibre wheels.

As demand continues to increase, it is expected that the Geelong facility will ultimately house four full “mega-lines” of 150,000 wheels a year of capacity, deploying state of the art technologies to supply to the global automotive market.

Multiple programs are expected to enter production in 2023 and 2024 in collaboration with OEM customers on detailed engineering and design work.

Carbon Revolution says large wheel sizes are becoming more popular and are well suited for carbon fibre, which is also uniquely suited to electric vehicle requirements which present a significant growth opportunity for the business.

Its patented product technology is globally unique and its leading market position and targeted R&D program are enabling the Geelong-based firm to extend its lead