BMW i3 Production Slows To A Crawl Due To Carbon Fiber Shipment Delays

NOV 18 2014 BY STAFF 16

Super-Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) has been devastating for several countries in Asia. The aftermath counts thousands of deaths and houses destroyed, and the recovery process is said to last for years.

One other impact of the Typhoon was on shipments from Asia to United States, and in this case, carbon fiber raw materials coming from plants in Japan. Without any raw materials, the Moses Lake plant which produces carbon fiber for BMW has to shut down its furnaces. Restarting a furnace is said to take up to a week sometimes.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG.  Check it out here.

bmw cfrp production 21 750x498 BMW i3 production slows down due to CFRP shortage

Carbon Fiber Shortage Leads To Long Waiting Periods For Those Who Purchase A BMW i3 Today

The process starts with the conversion of polyacrylonitrile into carbon fiber. The precursor is heated to precise temperatures in various stages (not unlike a beer brewer extracting sugars from the mash at various temperatures). The fiber comes out with only residual traces of atoms other than carbon. It is bundled into skeins and shipped to Wackersdorf, Germany for further processing into cloth.

The cloth travels to Landshut and/or Leipzig for processing/pressing into CFRP panels. And the scrap from the processing is returned to Wackersdorf where it is recycled into cloth – according to BMW about 10 percent of the i3’s CFRP structure is composed of recycled cloth.

The interwebs report that due to these circumstances, the production rate of the i3 has been slowed down and apparently there is a month-long waiting list for the i3 electric vehicle.

Source: Bimmerfile

Categories: BMW

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16 Comments on "BMW i3 Production Slows To A Crawl Due To Carbon Fiber Shipment Delays"

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David Murray

That stinks. I wonder how it will affect sales in the coming months.

Disappointed

Prediction Confirmed !

In September I expressed doubt about reported i3 sales activity which did not match up with national inventories of unsold cars.

Disappointed

September 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

BMW still has a long way to go !

All over the Country drivers are being offered “Take the i3 home for the weekend”, test drives. Cars are being returned, often early, with “No thanks!”
One thousand, nine hundred and eleven unsold i3s are at dealers across the Country.
Prices and leases will have to come down further for the i3, to become a competitive choice for buyers. The i3, offers no advantage over much lower priced cars.

Given past exaggerations, I expect BMW to announce soon that,,,”Demand for the i3 has been so great that our supply of carbon fiber can not keep up. WE are forced to temporarily stop production.”
“Carbon fiber” heads the list of exaggerated claims for superior construction, so repeating it often even as an excuse for stopping or ramping back production, will be irresistable.

David Murray

We did the 3 day test drive (my wife and I) and we loved it. We’re thinking of buying one.

Disappointed

You are in luck ! (if you choose to purchase)

Carbon fiber will not prevent your purchase.
Today, November 18,2014, there are just about one thousand, eight hundred, i3s avaiable across the Country, 50 of those are “Used”.

Disappointed

You are in luck ! (if you choose to purchase)

Carbon fiber will not prevent your purchase.
Today, November 18,2014, there are just about one thousand, eight hundred, i3s available across the Country, 50 of those are “Used”.

Mike

Where do you get this info?

I think you are wrong on this one. There is definitely a carbon fiber material shortage BMW is suffering through. Case in point: if you order a BMW M3, and elect to go with the regular carbon fiber roof instead of the steel roof with sunroof, your order will be delayed for many weeks. Sorry,no clairvoyance to your credit on this one.

MDEV

+100

sven

“Restarting a furnace is said to take up to a week sometimes.”

Does anyone know why it would take so long to restart?

ffbj

They have to be bought slowly up to high heat. It’s not like turning on your oven.

There are lots of Polyacrylonitrile suppliers; why not just buy elsewhere?

Mike I

The goods they’ve already purchased are sitting on a dock somewhere. In addition, you’are assuming some other supplier has enough finished goods on hand to make a difference and that it’s closer to Moses Lake than the goods that are stuck in transit.

The issue is not so much Typhoons … rather it is man-made work slowdowns at US westcoast ports (both Washington and California). Expect it to greatly effect US goods for Xmas shopping season as well. The long delays have shipments backed up coming & going …

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-11-18/white-house-says-ports-longshoremen-must-handle-labor-dispute

Oh … and the environment? All those ships sitting waiting with engines running at idle as they wait for a spot to dock. All the fresh produce sitting in diesel powered emergency refridgeration! Lots of carbon being released that could be used to build i3’s! 😉

Local storage, nice thing to have.

Priusmaniac

Why don’t they make their own carbon fibers in Germany or at least in another European country? That would make much more sense.

Warren

“not unlike a beer brewer extracting sugars from the mash at various temperatures”

Actually, it nothing like making beer. It is more like making charcoal. The plastic fiber is run through long, low oxogen ovens, to drive off most of the non-carbon atoms.