DETROIT - Besides being BMW's first U.S.-built car, the Z3 two-seat roadster is sporting an automotive first: a 131/2-gallon, monolayer, high density polyethylene fuel tank. BASF, supplier of the tank's 14 pounds of HDPE, said at the Detroit SAE show that the tank is the first HDPE monolayer tank in a passenger car in North America.
The inner and outer surfaces of the tank were treated with a proprietary fluorination process to meet environmental standards on emissions of volatile hydrocarbons.
Plastic Omnium Industries Inc., the U.S. unit of the French automotive supplier, makes the tank for BMW's Spartanburg, S.C., assembly plant. Plastic Omnium makes the fuel tank at its blow molding facility in Anderson, S.C.