SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers - a joint venture of SGL Group and the BMW Group - today officially opened its new state-of-the-art carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, WA. The new facility is strategic for the manufacture of ultra light-weight carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for use in the new BMW i vehicles.
In order to prepare the large scale production start of BMW i vehicles in 2013 it is important to start the carbon fiber manufacturing now. All electricity needed for the production of carbon fibers will come from readily available clean and renewable local hydropower.
Carbon fiber technology will fundamentally change the car industry, becoming increasingly important in the quest for lighter-weight materials to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. With the new SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers plant in Moses Lake, BMW Group and SGL Group are proving that sustainable innovations will provide for a cleaner individual mobility of the future.
The first vehicle to use the carbon fibers manufactured in Moses Lake will be the BMW i3, an all-electric car designed to meet the mobility needs of drivers in highly populated urban areas throughout the world. Driven purely by electric power to meet the demands of sustainable and emission-free mobility, the BMW i3 embodies an intelligent form of urban transportation and commuting. Previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, the BMW i3 will be the first BMW with the innovative LifeDrive architecture. The Life module part of the design is the passenger compartment made from high-strength, extremely lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The use of this high-tech material across large sections of the car ensures the Life module is remarkably light helping to improve the BMW i3's range and performance.
"About a month ago we presented the first concept cars being launched under our new sub-brand, BMW i," commented Dr. Norbert Reithofer, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. "The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 are cars like no other. With their purpose built design they will set new standards for clean individual mobility of the future. Carbon fibers are a key construction material for the automotive industry of the 21st century and will change the way we develop and build cars."