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Canadian EV startup ElectraMeccanica plans U.S. assembly plant, technical center

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Canadian startup electric vehicle maker ElectraMeccanica says it plans to build an assembly plant and technical center in the United States and has hired business advisory firm BDO to assist in selecting a site.

After a nationwide review of potential locations that matched ElectraMeccanica’s criteria, BDO identified seven states as finalists. The company sent initial requests for proposals to the economic development entities in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The leading location and backup sites are expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2020, ElectraMeccanica said in a news release Thursday.

ElectraMeccanica, which is headquartered in British Columbia, builds the small single-seat, three-wheeled Solo electric vehicle. The automaker has a contract manufacturing partner and strategic investor in Zongshen Industrial Group in Chongqing, China, where it currently builds the vehicle.

ElectraMeccanica said the Zongshen facility will continue to manufacture Solo EVs for the global market, while also supplying knock-down kits for assembly in the United States.

The proposed U.S. facility is expected to employ up to 200 people.

“Collectively, the operation would be expected to meet the growing demand for Solo EVs throughout the United States, where EVs are expected to exceed more than 30 per cent of all passenger vehicles by 2040,” the company’s statement read. “In addition, the proposed new U.S.-based facility would allow ElectraMeccanica to reduce or potentially eliminate tariffs, as well as benefit from logistical efficiencies.”

ElectraMeccanica officials weren’t immediately available to comment.

Paul Rivera, CEO of ElectraMeccanica, said in the statement that the U.S. facility will “allow us to limit uncertainties in the global supply chain, but also grow our talent pool of engineering resources and seize the tremendous market opportunities in the USA.”

ElectraMeccanica is aggressively pursuing the U.S. market. In January it said in a note to investors that it plans to open more retail kiosks in the United States. The automaker in November 2019 opened a kiosk in the highly trafficked Westfield Century City Shopping Mall on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. 

The Solo features a 100-mile range, has the ability to cruise at highway speeds and can charge on a standard 110-volt household socket in fewer than six hours. It is scheduled to be released in 2020 and expected to retail for less than $20,000.

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