FRANKFURT, May 9 (Reuters) - BMW and SGL Group will triple production of carbon fibre to 9,000 metric tonnes per year, as the German luxury auto maker prepares to expand the use of lightweight materials in its model range, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.
BMW and carbon specialist SGL will invest $200 million in their factory in Moses Lake, Washington, as part of a multi-stage investment plan to expand the number of production lines to six from two now.
Klaus Draeger, BMW’s board member for purchasing said: “Carbon fibre reinforced plastic is a key material for the automotive industry of the 21st century. As part of an intelligent mix of materials, we will apply carbon also beyond our BMWi and BMW M models in the future.”
The production of carbon fibre is energy intensive, the companies said.
“Accordingly, the decisive factors for the set up of the carbon fibre plant in Moses Lake included the availability of renewable hydropower as well as competitive energy costs in Washington State,” the two German companies said. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Susan Thomas)