With the purpose of supplying parts for a new BMW electric vehicle, BMW AG and the SGL Group plan to build a $100 million carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Washington.
This greenfield factory, which will start operating in the third-quarter of 2011, will produce ultra-lightweight carbonfiber reinforced plastics exclusively for BMW's first vehicle under a new sub-brand.
BMW has named this project as the "megacity" vehicle, which will be electric-powered and is set to arrive before 2015. There actually isn't much information out there about this project.
BMW didn't say what the sub-brand's name is or any further details about this vehicle. BMW is creating these cars as part of its Project i unit that it set up in 2008.
In order to avoid diluting its brand image, BMW will sell these vehicles under a sub-brand, similar to the M series it has created for high-performance vehicles.
The Moses Lake plant will be built by the joint venture, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC, and will have 80 employees. A spokesman for BMW of North America said that the technology is comparable to fiberglass.
A reinforcing material (carbon fiber) is combined with plastics as a binding agent to make a product with a specific molded shape. While carbon fiber is being used in limited parts on low-volume cars, BMW will be using it throughout the structure and in exterior and interior body panels.