The Washington State Energy Office, over the course of two years, has been working closely with BMW and the SGL Group to administer and launch the construction of a state-of-the-art carbon fiber automotive facility, located in Moses Lake, Washington. The facility manufactures carbon fiber, which is a cutting-edge material strong enough to replace steel in a number of BMW’s automotive frames. The $100 million joint venture began in 2010, with a portion of funding made available through a grant from the U.S. State Energy Program (SEP). Through the development and construction stages of this process, over 200 jobs were created, and since opening last year, approximately 80 permanent, full-time positions have been maintained. The decision to build the facility in Washington was based mainly on its ample supply of renewable clean hydropower and resultant competitive energy costs. Other contributing factors included a highly developed infrastructure; a skilled labor force; and good relationships with local officials and utility representatives. BMW is currently using the fibers manufactured from the facility to build early versions of its new i-series line, as well as its i3 Concept Coupe. In addition, a second production line in the 110,300 square foot facility is being built to increase capacity to approximately 3,000 tons per year.
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