MESA, Ariz. - The electric vehicle industry in Arizona revved up on March 16 as a new car manufacturer announced it is moving to Mesa after a nationwide search.
On Ray Road, just north of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, up to 500 jobs will soon fill a factory, but it could mean so much more than that.
ElectraMeccanica plans to launch the SOLO in North America this year. The SOLO is a single-occupant three-wheeled electric vehicle that will retail for $18,500. It has a range of 100 miles (160 kilometers), can reach a top speed of 80 mph (128 kph), and can charge on conventional electrical outlets.
Electra Meccanica says they hope to have cars out of the facility and hitting roads by the end of 2022.
"It’s very, very much like being in the cockpit of a fighter jet," explained ElectraMeccanica CEO, Paul Rivera, as he showed off their three-wheel electric vehicle designed for the urban driver.
But now, these cars will be built in a future warehouse off of Ray Road in Mesa. He said beyond all of the traditional reasons why, local leaders agreed to let them pilot a car share program.
"In addition to the facility, the land, the workforce, the logistics being close to the West Coast, our target market, the idea that we could test the solo share portion is really, really interesting to us," Rivera said.
Arizona is seemingly having an electric vehicle revolution with Lucid and Nikola factories in Casa Grande and news of a manufacturer that makes electric vehicle parts opening in Flagstaff.
"Arizona is becoming a hub for electric vehicles," says Sandra Watson with the Arizona Commerce Authority, adding that it means there will be lots of job opportunities.
ElectraMeccanica will be creating 500 new jobs and creating a $33 million capital investment. The 235,000 square-foot facility may lead to even more good news, says Mesa Mayor John Giles.
"There are a lot of suppliers, a lot of subcontractors that are part of the manufacturing process. So the ripple effect of this large manufacturing operation coming to the Gateway Airport area is really going to be felt throughout the region and really throughout the state," Giles said.
The facility is expected to break ground soon and the hope is to have the first car ready for sale by the end of 2022. ElectraMeccanica expects to be able to make 20,000 cars a year.
ElectraMeccanica has not yet received any incentives from the state but is eligible for three programs, according to the Arizona Commerce Authority. The company is eligible for a $1 million grant through the Arizona Competes Fund, $4.8 million in tax credits through the Qualified Facility Program and up to $2.3 million through the quality jobs tax credit program, which provides a tax credit worth up to $9,000 for each job meeting certain requirements.
"Arizona has fast become the electric vehicle center of America thanks to our robust and growing workforce, vibrant innovation ecosystem and ideal business environment," Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement.
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council envisions that Phoenix will become the old Detroit of the 60’s and 70’s during the American car boom.
"In and around this site, you’re going to see dozens of other companies emerge and ultimately provide supplier support to this location," said Chris Camacho with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
The cars are now available for pre-order on the ElectraMeccanica website: https://electrameccanica.com/
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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