SGL to Supply BMW Hybrid with Carbon Fiber Battery Case
BMW has long been one of SGL Carbon’s largest customers, using the pricey material to help cut weight in a variety of low-volume applications.
Carbon fiber battery case. (Image: SGL Carbon)
Now the luxury carmaker has selected SGL to supply a glass-reinforced carbon fiber battery cover for an upcoming plug-in hybrid model.
Performance and Weight Benefits
SGL says carbon fiber construction can provide a 40% weight savings over aluminum and high-strength steel in battery cases.
But lightweighting isn’t the only purported benefit. SGL also claims carbon fiber is the best material for:
- Impact resistance
- Thermal management
In addition, SGL says carbon fiber composites are well-suited for stressed structures or load-bearing elements, such as the underbody panels and side frames. In new “skateboard” EV platforms, the battery case serves as a structural component in the underbody.
Growing EV Applications
The BMW contract follows several other recent electrified vehicle wins for SGL.
Last year, SGL partnered with NIO on a carbon fiber battery case for the Chinese company’s EVs. SGL says the design, which combines a sandwich core with multiple layers of carbon fiber non-crimped fabrics, has a 200 times lower thermal conductivity than aluminum.
The supplier also will supply carbon fiber EV battery cases to a European sports car and an unnamed North American-based carmaker. Production on both programs is due to start later this year.
SGL has worked with BMW for more than a decade. The two companies launched joint ventures in Germany and the U.S. in 2009, in which SGL later took 100% ownership.
In addition to battery cases, SGL will continue to supply BMW with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body panels for the i3 EV and 7 Series sedan. The company also will provide various carbon materials for the upcoming iNext flagship EV that’s due next year.
Material selection is the key factor for making vehicles lighter. Here’s a quick look at the best options that also lend themselves to quick-turn, fully functional prototypes.
A look at the 7 Series Carbon Core.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.