BMW Plans To Triple Carbon Fiber Production for Future Vehicles

May 12, 2014 03:00 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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BMW is looking to offer lighter, more eco-friendly cars by expanding the use of carbon fiber in future production.

For now, the lightweight material can only be found in the BMW i and M models, but the German automaker plans to increase its carbon fiber plant's capacity three-fold to use in more vehicles, Edmunds.com reported.

BMW has already used carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in its 2014 i3 electric compact car and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car; the i3 is available in showrooms now, while the i8 is slated to hit dealerships this summer.

"As part of an intelligent mix of materials, we will apply carbon beyond our BMW i and BMW M models in the future," Klaus Draeger, BMW board member for purchasing and supplier network, said in a statement quoted by Edmunds.

"We will be able to produce the ultra-lightweight, high-tech material for other model series at competitive costs and in large quantities," Draeger said.

BMW has announced a new partnership with SGL Group and the goal of tripling production at the Moses Lake, Wash., plant where the company's carbon fiber products are made.

The carmaker is investing $200 million in the expansion, which will make the factory the largest carbon fiber plant in the world after it's completed.

While BMW hasn't yet specified which models will be outfitted with carbon fiber, the next BMW 7 series will likely use the material, according to Edmunds.

Carbon fiber, an extremely strong and lightweight material that improves fuel economy and scales back on vehicle emissions, has been expensive to implement into car production, but automakers believe it will be key in producing greener vehicles. 

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