Report: BMW supplier has picked Moses Lake

BMW supplier SGL Carbon has picked Moses Lake as the site of its new North American manufacturing plant, according to The Seattle Times.

If true, it would be a ringing endorsement of Washington state’s business climate.

According to the report, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to host an April 6 press conference with top executives from BMW and SGL, the German two companies that formed SGL Carbon as a joint-venture that will build carbon-fiber components for BMW’s new Megacity hybrid car. No one’s commenting on what will be said at the press conference, but a spokeswoman for the governor hinted at “a positive announcement.”

State and local officials have been working for months to convince the companies of the advantages of building the plant in Washington state.

Washington is a global leader in composites research and manufacturing, in large part because Boeing pioneered the use of composite materials in aircraft with the 787. Washington has research centers at the University of Washington and worker-training centers at both Edmonds and Everett community colleges. And last year, Italian automaker Lamborghini created an advanced composites lab with UW in Seattle to study ways to use composites in the auto industry.

Along with that expertise, sources said the companies were attracted to Moses Lake’s cheap and readily available hydropower. The state of Washington also is providing $2 million to help pay for an electrical substation to provide power to the plant; it is also working on a custom workforce training package for the company.

The $200 million SGL Carbon project would involve two separate plants — one to produce the carbon fiber itself and a second where the car parts would be fabricated, the Times reported. When complete, they would provide between 180 and 200 jobs, according to various reports.

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