SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, a joint venture between BMW AG and SGL Group, began building a carbon fiber manufacturing plant Wednesday in Moses Lake, Washington.
The operation will produce the lightweight material to be used for the body of BMW's battery-powered Megacity Vehicle. The vehicle is scheduled to go on sale in 2013.
BMW has been touting the technology used to create the lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Using carbon may bypass the extra 250 to 350 kilograms found in most electric vehicles, making the car more fuel efficient.
BMW and SGL said they initially will invest $100 million in constructing the 60-acre plant. One of the two carbon fiber lines will be commissioned in the third quarter of 2011. Each line will have an annual capacity of 1,500 metric tons.
Joerg Pohlman, managing director of SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, said in a statement that Moses Lake will be an ideal location for the plant because of its clean hydropower resources and competitive energy costs.