Electra Meccanica Expansion: B.C. electric vehicle maker announces U.S. expansion plan

Vancouver, British Columbia — Canadian electric vehicle startup Electra Meccanica has announced it has plans to build an assembly plant and technical centre in the United States.

The company, headquartered in B.C., has hired business advisory firm BDO to assist in selecting a site. Following a nationwide review of potential locations that match ElectraMeccanica’s criteria, BDO identified seven states as finalists. Initial requests for proposals have been sent to the chief 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 2020’s third quarter, according to an Electra Meccanica news release. The proposed facility is expected to employ up to 200 people and will feature an engineering technical centre.

“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 percent of all passenger vehicles by 2040,” the company’s statement read. “In addition, the proposed new U.S.-based facility would allow Electra Meccanica to reduce or potentially eliminate tariffs, as well as benefit from logistical efficiencies.”

Electra Meccanica builds a small single-seated, three-wheeled EV it calls Solo. The automaker has a contract manufacturing partner and strategic investor in Zongshen Industrial Group in Chongqing, China, where it builds its model.

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

Electra Meccanica has been aggressive in its pursuit of the U.S. market. In January, it sent a note to investors saying it plans to open more retail kiosks in the United States. In November 2019, the automaker opened a kiosk in the highly trafficked Westfield Century City Shopping Mall on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles.

The Solo is set to launch later in 2020 and will retail for less than US$20,000 (CND$26,444).

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