Seattle Times reports that BMW and another unnamed German company have chosen Moses Lake City as the site for a new plant to manufacture carbon fibers to use in building lightweight cars. Back in October 2009, SGL Group and BMW Group have formed a 51:49 joint venture to manufacture carbon fibers and fabrics for the automotive industry.
Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to speak at a news conference April 6 in Seattle that also will feature top executives of BMW and SGL Group. While the win has not been officially confirmed, the reports mentions a positive outcome for Moses Lake City.
Spokeswoman Karina Shagren for Gregoire, mentioned that the Governor met with company officials in November, and again in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. Members of the governor’s staff and state Commerce Department officials have been in “constant contact” with SGL and BMW, she added.
While another city has been considered for the job, Moses Lake has several advantages. According to Moses Lake City Manager Joe Gavinski , the city offers low-cost electricity, an abundance of available land, a big airport and proximity to Interstate 90.
When they announced their joint venture last October, SGL, which makes carbon-based products, and BMW said a new factory in North America would make fibers that would be woven into fabrics at a new factory in Germany.
They said the construction of the plants would start in 2010, and the two factories would employ a total of 180 workers. Since “green” is the goal, the new plant would use hydropower, a commodity Moses Lake and Grant County enjoy in abundance thanks to Columbia River dams.
The carbon fabrics manufactured at Moses Lake plant will make their way into BMW’s Project i vehicle: MegaCity, due to launch in 2012.