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Monday, 02 June 2014 21:24

BMW Joint Venture to Triple Carbon Fiber Plant Capacity

BMW Group’s joint venture with SGL Group will spend $200 million to triple the capacity of its carbon fiber products plant in Moses Lake, WA. The factory will become the world’s largest producer of carbon fiber, with an annual output of 9,000 tons by 2015 when the expansion is completed. The plant provides carbon fiber-reinforced plastics for the BMW family of i electric and plug-in hybrid cars—the i3 electric compact car and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. The i3 has just been released in the US, and the i8 will launch in August 2014. The carbon fiber has been used to produce 5,000 i3 cars at the BMW factory in Leipzig, Germany, which has a daily output of 100 vehicles. With the expansion, BMW said it will be able to use the carbon fiber for other models “at competitive costs and in large quantities.” The redesigned 7-series flagship sedan due in two years is expected to make extensive use of carbon fiber. The joint venture, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, is 49 percent owned by BMW. The partners have spent $100 million on the plant, which has 80 employees. The expansion will create 120 additional jobs.

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