Demand for carbon fiber has drastically grown over the past few years and to make sure they are well covered for their future projects, BMW has signed a new deal with supplier SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers. Thanks to a $200 million investment, the production capacity of Moses Lake plant will soon be tripled.
By early next year Moses Plant will become the world’s largest carbon fiber plant, producing up to 9,000 tons of the high-end material per year. BMW is confident that due to their automated production processes they can produce carbon fiber at a competitive cost, meaning that it will no longer be reserved for high-end sports cars. Soon it will be used for production of normal cars like the 3 and 5 Series.
Currently, Moses Lake plant operates two production lines, exclusively for BMW i, with an annual output of approx. 3,000 tons of carbon fiber and 80 employees. The expansion will see the addition of 120 new workers and the launch of third and fifth production lines and production capacity of 6,000 tons per year in the first phase, and later on the launch of fifth and sixth lines for production of 9,000 tons.
BMW is a big consumer of carbon fiber. At present the Leipzig plant makes 100 BMW i3 every day, and soon they will add the i8 to the range. Then there is the M cars the M performance parts.
Dr. Klaus Draeger, Board Member Purchasing and Supplier Network at BMW AG: “CFRP is a key material for the automotive industry of the 21st century. In our endeavor to identify increasingly lightweight materials in order to reduce a vehicle’s weight and thus its fuel consumption and carbon emissions, this material plays a crucial role. As part of an intelligent mix of materials, we will apply carbon also beyond our BMW i and BMW M models in the future. Thanks to the pooling of the SGL Group’s expertise and our knowledge in large-series production of CFRP components, we will be able to produce the ultra-lightweight high-tech material also for other model series, at competitive costs and in large quantities.”