BMW and SGL Will Invest $137 Million To Double Carbon Fiber Production


Germany’s Handelsblattis reporting that BMW and SGL will invest $137 million to double production (split equally today at 1,500 metric tons per site) of carbon fiber at two sites: SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers in Moses Lake, Washington and SGL Automotive Fibers GmbH in Germany.

Production of BMW i3 in Leipzig

Production of BMW i3 in Leipzig

The goal is to bring annual output up from 3,000 to 6,000 metric tons to support the expected demand for the BMW i3, BMW i8 and the 2015 BMW 7 Series.

Does this mean that BMW i3 demand is higher than expected?  Absolutely not.

Update:  The scuttlebutt we hear from Germany is that BMW may actually be having trouble producing the i3 due to the difficulties in the supply chain getting the lightweight material.  The high error rate (along with other supplier issues) has apparently slowed production by as much as 50% under BMW’s initial plans.

Word recently leaked that the 2015 BMW 7 Series will feature carbon fiber construction.  Therefore, it’s fitting that BMW is readying its two carbon fiber sites for expected high demand for this flagship luxury sedan.

Note the Carbon Fiber

Note the Carbon Fiber

Source: Handelsblatt, hat tip to Jens

Category: BMW

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12 responses to "BMW and SGL Will Invest $137 Million To Double Carbon Fiber Production"
  1. Open-Mind says:

    Thank you for not using the term “carbon fiber reinforced PLASTIC”. 🙂

  2. Anon says:

    How do you recycle this stuff?

    1. scott moore says:

      Make it into pencils

      1. Anon says:

        How do you convert carbon fiber into graphite? How do you separate it from the resin reinforcement? What do you do with that, once you’ve done that step? Ate you implying the wood is replaced with the resin? How much energy would it take to make a single pencil with this material, over the current method of a tree and graphite rods? 😉

    2. Dan Frederiksen says:

      fire works well. it’s not a problem

    3. RussB says:

      The short answer is that you don’t. You can recover some of the short fiber trim scrap before impregnation with the resin, but, because the fibers are so short, the performance of the recyclate is not significantly better than that of glass fibers. Once the fibers are impregnated with the resin, the only way to recover them is through pyrolysis, essentially dissolving the resin. This is not a very economical or environmentally friendly process. And grinding up the CFRP parts is really tough on the shredder. No one is currently recycling CFRP on anything like a significant industrial scale.
      CFRP may be useful for planes (because of the huge amount of fuel they consume), but cars, especially advanced-powertrain cars, do not see enough difference in use-phase energy consumption to justify the high energy and low recyclability of CFRP.

  3. Dan Frederiksen says:

    It’s a lot of dough they are investing while achieving no weight improvement.
    And you get a highly flammable car. And carbon fiber is as dangerous as asbestos.

    It’s simple logic that you don’t use carbon fiber unless you really get something out of it and they aren’t. Other than maybe a FUD factor by impressing the other car makers and fooling the buyers.
    It’s not impressive.

  4. ffbj says:

    The major advantage of carbon fiber is that its weight is just one-fifth of steel and its potency is more than of steel. These composites are widely used in manufacturing components that require durable strength and low weight. It is in this regard that there are a growing number of people choose carbon fiber over aluminum or steel for many uses. Another distinguished quality of carbon fiber is its low thermal expansion. Aside from displaying its state-of-the-art strength, this material also has its pride into being fire resistant. Even just a thin layer of carbon fibers can efficiently stand and reflect heat.
    just cut and pasted that.

    1. Dan Frederiksen says:

      fire resistant? graphite strands are fire resistant? 🙂
      so is gasoline then 🙂

  5. Kevin says:

    Nice of Washington state to put forth anti EV legislation when so many jobs are created in the state because of bmw’s EV program and it’s carbon fiber production in the state.

    Thanks for the jobs BMW here is your anti EV laws

    Correct if I am wrong (I know you will)

    1. scott moore says:

      No I won’t.