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BMW to use hydropower to manufacture Megacity electric car

BMW to use hydropower to manufacture Megacity electric car

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Hydropower in the Pacific Northwest will help create BMW's future electric car series.

BMW will make its future electric car, the Megacity EV, using hydropower.

Manufacturing the carbon fibers for the Megacity's lightweight components requires heaps of electricity. So using a low-emission energy source to produce the low-emission car makes sense.

In partnership with fellow German company SGL Group, which produces carbon-based products, BMW will build a new plant in Moses Lake, Washington.

Construction begins in June for the $100 million plant, which will produce 80 long-term jobs and 150 to 200 jobs created through the construction work.

Eric Pryne reports in the Seattle Times:

State and local governments in Washington offered SGL and BMW more than $4 million in incentives to locate the carbon-fiber plant in Moses Lake.

In January the state Community Economic Revitalization Board approved a $1.5 million loan and a $500,000 grant to the Port of Moses Lake to help build a substation to provide power to the factory.

But many cities will help build the Megacity. Raw materials (polyacrylic fibers) will hail from Otake, Japan. The Moses Lake plant will convert these into carbon fibers, which will then go to Wackersdorf, Germany, and then off to the assembly line in Leipzig.

With all that traveling before it hits the road, the Megacity may have an interesting carbon footprint after all.

BMW Board Member Friedrich Eichiner in a statement:

Our focus includes the whole value chain. Therefore, the energy demand for producing carbon fiber will come from environmentally friendly hydropower. Lightweight construction is a core aspect for sustainable mobility improving both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The two companies say they are also developing ways to recycle the carbon fibers.

Marketing for the electric car, which may be similar to the concept ActiveE (image above), is slated to begin before 2015. That Potholes State Park partially surrounds Moses Lake will hopefully not portend too much into the Megacity’s future.

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Melissa Mahony

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Melissa Mahony has written for Scientific American Mind, Audubon Magazine, Plenty Magazine and LiveScience. Formerly, she was an editor at Wildlife Conservation magazine. She holds degrees from Boston College and New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure