Seattle, Washington – BMW has announced a joint venture with SGL Group that will build a carbon fibre manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, Washington to supply materials for BMW’s upcoming electric Megacity Vehicle.
The plant will involve an investment of US$100 million in its initial phase and will create 80 local jobs.
The Megacity, announced in February 2010, will be assembled in Leipzig, Germany using carbon fibre from the Washington plant. BMW said that the location was chosen primarily due to the availability of renewable clean hydropower and competitive energy costs in the state. The new vehicle is expected to be launched before 2015 under a BMW sub-brand.
“This new plant in Moses Lake is a milestone in the use of carbon fibres for large-scale production in the automotive industry,” said Robert Koehler, CEO of the SGL Group. “It will be the world’s most cost-efficient carbon fibre plant using state-of-the-art technologies. This significant investment further underlines our commitment to the U.S., where we already operate carbon fibre and composite materials plants. The manufacture of carbon fibres is a core business for SGL Group and together with our partner BMW Group, we will ensure that carbon fibres play a revolutionary role in lightweight automotive construction.”
Polyacrylic fibres will be produced in Japan by a joint venture of SGL Group and Mitsubishi Rayon; the facility in Moses Lake will convert these fibres into actual carbon fibres. These carbon fibres will then be processed into lightweight fabrics at a second joint venture site in Wackersdorf, Germany, while the parts and components will be made from the fabrics at BMW Group’s plant in Landshut, Germany.