BMW opens Carbon Fiber plant in Moses Lake WA with 80 jobs

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The BMW Group's $100 million joint venture with SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers announced the official opening of SLG’s its new state-of-the-art carbon fiber manufacturing plant in Moses Lake WA, where the manufacture of ultra light-weight carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) for new BMW i vehicles will take place.

The Moses Lake plant will create 80 new local jobs running at least until 2013. Preparation for large-scale production of BMW i vehicles in 2013 requires starting the fabrication of CFRPs now. All the power needed for this effort will come Washington’s readily available, non-polluting and naturally sustainable hydraulic generators.

“About a month ago we presented the first concept cars being launched under our new sub-brand, BMW I, stated Dr. Norbert Reithofer, CEO and Chairman of the Board of BMW Auto Group. “The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 are cars like no other. With their purpose built design they will set new standards for clean individual mobility of the future. Carbon fibers are a key construction material for the automotive industry of the 21st century and will change the way we develop and build cars.”

“Thanks to the emission-free drivetrain and a value added chain designed to be sustainable all along the line,” reads the company statement, “life cycle emission figures for the BMW i3 are at least a third lower than for a highly efficient combustion-engine car.” We’re not quite sure what they mean by a “value added chain” but we think it’s that the car if powered by electricity from renewable sources, over a lifetime of use its pollution levels will be reduced by 50%.

CFRPs will revolutionize the car industry every bit as much as switching to electrical drive systems, as the quest for lighter-weight and thus more fuel-efficient vehicles continues. With the new SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers plant in Moses Lake, BMW Group and SGL Group are insuring sustainable innovations to provide cleaner personal mobility in the very near future.

The carbon fiber materials produced at the plant will initially be used in the BMW i3, an all-electric car for drivers in urban areas throughout the world. The all-electric BMW i3 is meant to embody intelligent urban transportation and commuting. It will be the first BMW with the innovative LifeDrive architecture.
The Life module part of the design is the passenger compartment made entirely from high-strength, extremely lightweight CFRP. The materials use through much of the car ensures it is remarkably light improving the BMW i3’s range and performance.

Taking a leading role in sustainable business operations, BMW and SGL’s entire supply chain - ecological, social and economic - has been conscientiously aligned. The manufacture and processing of the carbon fibers and composites will take careful consideration of environmental resources and resulting waste carbon fibers and composite materials will be processed for recycling.


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