BMW CFRP-based i3 and i8 turned out to be quite expensive, but composites are still an attractive option to enhance plug-ins.

SGL Carbon announced today that it received a new series production contract for a cover component for battery enclosure from the BMW Group. That's another one, after orders from NIO, an undisclosed North American automaker and a European sports car manufacturer.

In the case of BMW, the multi-year contract, is a "substantial" one and it is for "an innovative glass-fiber-based cover plate for the battery housing for usage in a future plug-in hybrid model".

There are reasons why automakers opt for composite battery enclosures:

  • lower weight
  • high stiffness
  • meet high requirements for water and gas tightness
  • excellent fire protection properties

"Materials made of composites are suited for battery enclosures for different reasons: Besides their light weight, which enhances the electric vehicle’s range, fiber-reinforced plastics offer high stiffness. In addition, they meet high requirements for water and gas tightness and feature excellent fire protection properties. Composite materials can also help to achieve improved structural stiffness of the underbody, e.g. to protect against penetration, as well as an optimized thermal management. Carbon fibers are ideal for especially stressed structures or load-bearing elements, such as the underbody panels and side frames. For components subjected to less stress, such as battery box covers, glass fibers or a fiber mix may suffice."

SGL Carbon is BMW's long-term partner and supplier of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic for the BMW i3 (previously also BMW i8), as well as materials for the Carbon Core body of the BMW 7 series. Most recently the company was selected also for all carbon materials - fibers, textiles, stacks - for the BMW iNEXT, scheduled for 2021.

Hide press releaseShow press release

SGL Carbon receives contract for battery enclosure from BMW Group

04/21/2020, Wiesbaden

At a glance

  • New composite e-Mobility application
  • Multi-year substantial contract

After prototypes for a Chinese automotive manufacturer, a major order from a North American automaker, and yet another order for a European sports car manufacturer, SGL Carbon has now been nominated by BMW Group to produce a cover component for battery enclosures in series. This substantial multi-year order will include the production of an innovative glass-fiber-based cover plate for the battery housing for usage in a future plug-in hybrid model of BMW Group.

Materials made of composites are suited for battery enclosures for different reasons: Besides their light weight, which enhances the electric vehicle’s range, fiber-reinforced plastics offer high stiffness. In addition, they meet high requirements for water and gas tightness and feature excellent fire protection properties. Composite materials can also help to achieve improved structural stiffness of the underbody, e.g. to protect against penetration, as well as an optimized thermal management. Carbon fibers are ideal for especially stressed structures or load-bearing elements, such as the underbody panels and side frames. For components subjected to less stress, such as battery box covers, glass fibers or a fiber mix may suffice.

“Driven by advancing developments in electromobility worldwide, our innovative solutions for battery enclosures made of fiber-reinforced plastic are becoming more and more of a growth driver for SGL Carbon,” explains Sebastian Grasser, Head of Automotive Segment in the Composites – Fibers & Materials business unit at SGL Carbon.

In addition to the new application for the hybrid model battery enclosure, SGL Carbon will continue producing the usual components made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic for the BMW i3 and delivering materials for the Carbon Core body of the BMW 7 series, and has been nominated as the supplier for all carbon materials - fibers, textiles, stacks - for the BMW iNEXT, set to be launched in 2021.

For years, SGL Carbon has supplied several automotive manufacturers with carbon materials and composite components, from sports car parts to large-scale deliveries of leaf springs and structural components.