The partnership will see BMW share carbonfibre manufacturing know-how with the US-based aerospace specialist and participate in a joint research program into recycling the material, which is becoming increasing popular in the automotive industry because of its high-strength, lightweight nature.
The BMW i3 plug-in city car and the BMW i8 hybrid sports car due to launch from late 2013 will employ carbonfibre extensively in their bodywork, passenger cells and interiors. The carbonfibre components will be manufactured at a brand-new plant in Moses Lake, Washington – itself the result of a joint venture between BMW and SGL Group – before being shipped to Leipzig where the vehicles will be assembled.
Boeing’s investment in carbonfibre technology is fundamental to its operations, with 50 per cent of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft constructed from the woven material.
BMW board member for development, Herbert Diess, said Boeing would be a valuable partner as the car maker expanded its use of carbonfibre components in its vehicles.
“Boeing has many years of extensive experience using carbonfibre in the field of aviation, while the BMW Group has earned a significant competitive advantage through its use of special manufacturing methods for series production of carbonfibre parts,” Diess said.
“Through this cooperation we can merge know-how between our industries in the field of sustainable production solutions.”