SGL Group, the suppliers for the carbon fibre reinforced parts that currently go into making BMW’s i is in talks with a number of other carmakers to supply a wider range of automotive components.
SGL’s CEO Juergen Kohlen told a German newspaper that the company is in talks with a number of manufacturers who are all looking to magical material for lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles. He went on to say that the new contracts were not going to be as big as the BMW venture.
Uncertainty lingers over the success of the BMW “i” series of electric cars, with the company ploughing billions in the project only to sell just over 10,000 i3’s by the end of September. Last week rumours emerged that BMW and Tesla were meeting to join forces on carbon fibre supply and battery technology share.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel said that Tesla is talking with BMW on “whether we can work together in battery technology and charging stations”. He went on to say that BMW has ”relatively inexpensive carbon fibre production”, which could be interesting for Tesla.
Sources close to BMW said that discussions with Tesla were only informal and that the Palo Alto company might be dropping the BMW name for PR reasons, after both Daimler and Toyota sold their shares in the company back in October.
The use of carbon fibre in cars is still at the early stages and has yet to establish itself as a sizeable business for SGL with Automotive and transport sectors only accounting for just 2% of last years sales.