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The BMW Group and the SGL Group have agreed on the establishment of a joint venture for the production of carbon fibres and textile semi-finished products (CFRP) for use in vehicle construction. The total investment volume is € 90 million in the first development phase, the two companies stated earlier this week.
Lightweight design has been one of the core missions of the BMW Group for decades and is key to reducing fuel consumption.
“”This joint venture is designed to be a classic win-win situation. We are acquiring pioneering future technologies and raw materials that we need for our Megacity Vehicle on competitive terms. The SGL Group is moving into the automobile business with us as a strong partner””, BMW AG Management Board Chairman Norbert Reithofer emphasised in Munich. “”With our concepts within project i, we are breaking new ground when it comes to vehicle architecture, lightweight design and the use of materials””, Reithofer continued.
Robert Koehler, CEO of the SGL Group, stated: “”This joint venture with the BMW Group is a milestone for the use of carbon fibres on an industrial scale in the automobile industry. For the first time, carbon fibres are taking on an important role in series vehicle manufacture. This confirms our strategy and shows that carbon fibre technology is becoming increasingly important in the materials substitution process to lighter material. This material will help to reduce CO2 emissions and save our natural resources“.
With the joint venture, the BMW Group hopes to strengthen its position as a sustainable vehicle manufacturer. This claim is reflected throughout the entire value creation chain, from component purchasing to recycling. Producing CFRP in a way that protects resources is therefore a high priority. The high energy requirement for the production of carbon fibres is to be met completely by environmentally friendly hydropower. This is one of the preconditions for the production site of carbon fibres in North America. The raw material is then processed into a carbon fibre fabric at the second location in Germany. Parts and components will then be made from this light-weight durable fabric within the BMW Group.
It is thought that CFRP fibres will form a large proportion of the materials used in the Megacity Vehicle, which is due to be launched under a BMW sub-brand during the early part of the next decade. The company’s believe that by working together they can achieve the production of a competitively-priced, mass produced CFRP-based vehicle for the first time.
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