Though production of the BMW i3 and i8 have only just begun, the automaker is investing $200 million to triple production of carbon fiber. This could be the move that helps take carbon fiber into the mainstream.
With 10,000 pre-orders for the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 reportedly already sold out for its first production run, the Germans seem to have hit on their hands already. Carbon fiber has played a big role in keeping the weight of both vehicles down, and BMW formed a joint venture with SGL to secure carbon fiber supplies going forward. Though BMW already invested $100 million to ensure carbon fiber production could keep up with initial demand, another $200 million is on tap to triple production, from 3,000 tons per year to 9,000.
Looks like BMW has big plans for carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced plastic, a lightweight composite that combines the best features of both materials. This investment will make SGL’s carbon fiber factory in Moses Lake, Washington the world’s largest carbon fiber plant, and it will be at the beck and call of BMW.
It isn’t just BMW i models that will get the extra fiber.BMW has already showcased a bamboo and carbon fiber charging port, and M brand of performance cars will use more and more of the lightweight material to boost performance. Carbon fiber shows once again how efficiency and performance go hand-in-hand.