German news site Handelsblattis is reporting that both BMW & SGL Carbon are set to invest more than 100 million euros to double production at two carbon fibre manufacturing facilities.
The companies want to double annual output up to 6,000 metric tons to support the anticipated demand for the i3, i8 and the new 2015 BMW 7 Series which will reportedly feature carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Unconfirmed rumours coming from a number of sources in Germany suggest that BMW may be having trouble manufacturing the i3 due to supply chain issues and a higher than expected error rate which is slowing production.
The global market for carbon fibre is still quite small, but as demand increases, aerospace and automotive manufacturers are finding it harder to source materials. Market experts are predicting the cost for carbon fibre to decrease 30% by 2020, this mainly due to higher automation and decreasing throughput times.