Confirming several earlier reports by Leftlane, BMW has officially announced a partnership with SGL Group to build a new, $100 million manufacturing plant in Washington state to produce carbon fiber reinforced plastics for a new BMW sub-brand. Details are still limited about BMW’s new sub-brand, but we do know that the project vehicle is known as the Megacity – for now.
There have been suggestions fueled by evidence from county filings that BMW was working on setting up a new factory with SGL Group for quite some time, but now the Columbia Basin Herald has confirmed the future of a new plant to be shared between the two companies.
The Herald says that SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers has announced a $100 million investment for the initial production phase of a new carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, Washington. SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers is a new joint venture – the result of collaboration between SGL Group and BMW Auto Group.
The new plant will create 150 to 200 construction jobs, according to SGL Group CEO, Theodore Breyer, with groundbreaking for construction is set to begin in June. The project’s initial phase is expected to create 80 jobs, with hiring to begin in the fourth quarter, 2010.
According to BMW and SGL, Moses Lake was chosen as the location for their facility largely due to the availability of hydroelectric power. The low energy cost, coupled with a low environmental impact, help make the plant not only efficient economically, but it
also coincides with the eco-friendly image of the upcoming Megacity electric vehicle.
“This new plant in Moses Lake is a milestone in the use of carbon fibers for large scale production in the automotive industry,” said Robert Koehler, CEO SGL Group. “It
will be the world’s most cost efficient carbon fiber plant using state-of-the-art technologies. The manufacture of carbon fibers is a core business for SGL Group and together with our partner BMW Group, we will ensure that carbon fibers play a revolutionary role in lightweight automotive construction.”
BMW hopes to utilize this new plant to create newer, lightweight materials that will help to optimize performance of its sub-branded electric vehicles. The carbon fiber products being produced at the Moses Lake facility will be used exclusively for the Megacity project vehicle.
BMW plans to launch the yet-to-be-named sub-brand by 2015.