BMW is expanding carbon fiber output as demand rises for i-models

Article by Anita Panait, on February 19, 2014

BMW Group is constructing a second production hall at a carbon-fiber site it jointly operates with SGL Carbon SE as it tries to cater to growing demand for its i-subbrand models. The carmaker also plans to use carbon fiber on other vehicles in its lineup. "We're preparing the roll out of carbon fiber material in models beyond the i- model range" and the M performance-car unit, remarked BMW spokesman Mathias Schmidt.

Handelsblatt has reported that BMW is planning to use carbon fiber for its planned new 7 series that will be rolled out by the end of 2014. BMW launched the i3 electric in November 2013 and will roll out the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar later this year. BMW has already sold out the i8 for its first year of availability. Both i-models boast of a carbon-fiber chassis to cut weight and enhance fuel efficiency.

BMW chief financial officer Friedrich Eichiner disclosed in October 2013 that the company is mulling a production hike for the i3 as early demand exceeded its expectations. BMW has received 11,000 orders globally for the i3 and expects to sell more than 10,000 units this year. "We're preparing for rising demand," said Tino Fritsch, a spokesman for SGL.

BMW and SGL are investing over EUR100 million ($137 million) to double carbon fiber production to 6,000 tons annually, the German business daily reported, citing people privy with the carmaker. BMW Group holds an 18.4-percent stake in SGL. SGL’s largest individual shareholder is SKion GmbH, which holds a 28-percent.

BMW i8 boasts innovative design features, ultra-dynamic proportions, low-slung silhouette, and elegantly sporty lines. With these, the BMW i8 comes to represent a whole new generation of sports cars. The car brings together the BMW brand’s hallmark features and the design language that was developed especially for the BMW i cars in order to create a progressive aesthetic that communicates its performance attributes faithfully, as well as the innovative premium character and the efficiency of a plug-in hybrid sports car.

With the launching of the BMW i8, the carmaker gives you the first sports car in the world to be built for sustainability. The car has an unmistakable and emotion-stirring look, first seen in a prototype design revealed in the guise of BMW’s Vision Efficient Dynamics, then meticulously refined for the i8 Concept that was exhibited at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, and is now adopted for the production version virtually unchanged.

Both the car’s exterior and interior embody a pioneering yet revolutionary take on BMW’s Sheer Driving Pleasure, which the brand is known for. The 2+2-seater car’s forward-looking nature is emphasized by clean and minimalist lines, function-focused details, and homogeneous surfaces that are defined by a few crisp edges.

BMW i8, which is the second series BMW i model, also reveals the design language’s versatility and establishes itself as a signature BMW i car. It has a design that signals lightness, efficiency, pure driving pleasure, and safety, all of which are stand-out qualities that the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car and the BMW i3 share. The i3 is the i8’s pure-electric sibling that’s built for comfortable and agile urban driving.

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Topics: bmw, bmw i3, bmw i8

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