Report: MAI Carbon Cluster, BMW pursuing low-cost carbon fiber

Automotive News reports that Germany-based MAI Carbon Cluster Management is working with BMW and other partners on technology that could reduce the cost of carbon fiber by as much as 90 percent.

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Automotive News reported on Oct. 9, 2014 ­that MAI Carbon Cluster Management GmbH (Augsburg, Germany) has partnered with BMW AG (Munich, Germany), with support from the German federal government and business and research institutions, is working on a carbon fiber manufacturing technology that could reduce the cost of carbon fiber by as much as 90 percent.

"We've certainly reached a halfway point on our cost­cutting target for suitable carbon ­fiber parts," said Klaus Drechsler, head of the effort and a professor at the Technical University of Munich, in the report. "We'll see a lot more carbon­ fiber use in the next generation of cars."

"The key is to really drive automation" in production, Drechsler said. "There are different scenarios about how carmakers can use carbon fiber ­­ extensively like BMW, with a carbon­fiber chassis, or with smaller components." 

The report says MAI is funded for at least the five years through 2017. Partners also include planemaker Airbus Group NV, engineering company Siemens AG and SGL Carbon SE, which has a joint venture with BMW to produce carbon fiber that's used in the passenger frame for the BMW i3 electric city car and i8 hybrid sports car.

Click Automotive News for original report.

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