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SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (SGLACF), a joint venture of SGL Group and BMW Group has officially opened its new carbon fibre manufacturing plant in Moses Lake.
SGLACF explain that the new facility is strategic for the manufacture of ultra light-weight carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) for use in the new BMW i vehicles and the two parent companies will invest approximately $100 million in their Moses Lake plant and create 80 new local jobs until 2013. They say that in order to prepare the large scale production of BMW i vehicles in 2013 it is important to start the carbon fibre manufacturing now. All electricity needed for the production of carbon fibres will come from readily available clean and renewable local hydropower.
SGLACF say that carbon fibre 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.
The BMW i3, an all-electric car designed to meet the mobility needs of drivers in highly populated urban areas throughout the world, will be the first vehicle to use the carbon fibres manufactured in Moses Lake. Driven purely by electric power to meet the demands of sustainable and emission-free mobility, SGLACF claim the BMW i3 embodies an intelligent form of urban transportation and commuting. The BMW i3 will be the first BMW with the innovative LifeDrive architecture where the Life module part of the design is the passenger compartment made from high-strength, extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and SGLACF say 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.
Dr. Norbert Reithofer, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG said “About a month ago we presented the first concept cars being launched under our new sub-brand, BMW i. 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 fibres are a key construction material for the automotive industry of the 21st century and will change the way we develop and build cars.”
Robert Koehler, CEO, SGL Group explained “The manufacture of carbon fibres is a core business for SGL Group and together with our partner BMW Group; we will ensure that carbon fibres play a ground-breaking role in lightweight automotive construction. This new Greenfield facility in Moses Lake is a milestone in the use of carbon fibres for large scale production in the automotive industry. This significant investment further underlines our commitment to the U.S., where we already operate carbon fibre and composite part facilities.”
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