December 18, 2020

Electric Commercial Vehicle Maker Hopes To Meet Demand, To Purchase Mishawaka Facility

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
An entrance at the former AM General assembly plant in Mishawaka where Electric last Mile Solutions plans to take over.  - Justin Hicks/ IPB News

An entrance at the former AM General assembly plant in Mishawaka where Electric last Mile Solutions plans to take over.

Justin Hicks/ IPB News

Delivery companies are carrying historic numbers of packages, highlighting the potential for future expansion of fleets. One company hopes to meet the growing demand with electric vehicles and will be using a former AM General facility in Indiana to do so.

Michigan-based Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS) will use the former AM General site in Mishawaka to produce electric delivery vehicles. 

ELMS is the second electric vehicle company with plans to take over the facility. 

The AM General site made news in 2017 when Chinese electric car company SF Motors, now called SERES, purchased the site. The following year the company announced its renovation and retooling plans for the facility to produce and assemble electric consumer vehicles. But those plans for the location were put on hold last year.

ELMS CEO James Taylor worked for General Motors when the company used the location to build Hummers and Mercedes-Benz. He believes this investment will be a turning point for the local community.

“Since 2016, they've been patiently waiting to manufacture their next vehicle,” said Taylor. “And so the announcement today confirms our interest to bring that plant back up, bring all those people back to work and start making vehicles again.”

The company plans to hire nearly 1,000 employees with the new site over the next four years.

The facility announcement follows ELMS news about a week ago on its plan to go public through a reverse merger valued at $1.4 billion.

Taylor said he believes demand for the battery-powered commercial vehicles will be strong with market prices competitive with current gasoline options and lower operating costs.

“So now all of a sudden, it's a savings overall to a business owner to buy these electric vehicles rather than a premium and kind of talking themselves into it and basically costing their companies money to go green,” he said.

Taylor said the plant should be able to produce up to 100,000 vehicles a year once fully running.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered ELMS up to $10 million in conditional tax credits and $200,000 in conditional training grants.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story's headline implied the company had already purchased the Mishawaka facility. In the interest of clarity, we changed the headline to better denote that the deal isn't set to close until 2021.

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