BMW To Expand Use of Carbon Fiber Beyond i and M Cars | Edmunds

BMW To Expand Use of Carbon Fiber Beyond i and M Cars


Just the Facts:
  • BMW said it intends to use carbon-fiber parts beyond its BMW i and M models in the future as it seeks to reduce vehicle weight and cut fuel consumption.
  • The German automaker on Friday announced that a joint venture with SGL Group will triple the capacity of its carbon-fiber products plant in Moses Lake, Washington.
  • "We will be able to produce the ultra-lightweight, high-tech material for other model series at competitive costs and in large quantities," BMW said in a statement.

MOSES LAKE, Washington BMW said it intends to use carbon-fiber parts beyond its BMW i and M models in the future as it seeks to reduce vehicle weight and cut fuel consumption.

"As part of an intelligent mix of materials, we will apply carbon beyond our BMW i and BMW M models in the future," said Dr. Klaus Draeger, BMW board member for purchasing and supplier network, in a statement.

The German automaker on Friday announced that a joint venture with SGL Group will triple the capacity of its carbon-fiber products plant in Moses Lake, Washington. BMW will invest $200 million in a plant expansion that will make Moses Lake the world's largest carbon-fiber plant.

"We will be able to produce the ultra-lightweight, high-tech material for other model series at competitive costs and in large quantities," Dr. Draeger said.

BMW did not specify which models will get the carbon-fiber treatment, but it is widely anticipated that the next BMW 7 Series will make extensive use of carbon fiber.

The 2014 BMW i3 electric compact car and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car feature carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics. The 2014 BMW i3 is at dealerships now. The BMW i8 will go on sale this summer.

Carbon fiber is a super strong and lightweight material that is considered to be a vital part of automakers' efforts to boost fuel economy and cut carbon emissions. Cost has been a major hurdle to widespread use of carbon fiber in cars and trucks.

But the material continues to go mainstream. The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 stood out in the pack at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show with its liberal use of carbon fiber.

Edmunds says: Your future BMW is likely to feature carbon fiber, a good thing for consumers concerned about eco-friendly mobility.

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