Companies Partner to Launch New Automotive Technology, Add Jobs in Elkhart County
31 May, 2009
Governor Mitch Daniels joined executives from Electric Motors Corporation (EMC) and Gulf Stream Coach to announce the companies' partnership and plans to launch electric vehicle production here. EMC, which develops and manufactures electric power drive systems for electric and hybrid vehicles, will partner with RV manufacturer Gulf Stream Coach to produce the first light-duty electric pickup truck. Together, the companies plan to invest more than $80 million on building renovations, machinery and equipment to site manufacturing facilities in Wakarusa and Nappanee and potentially create more than 1,600 jobs by 2012.
The new, light-duty electric pickup trucks use electric power drive technology that is clean, efficient, reliable and can be retrofitted for current vehicle models as well as future advanced technology electric plug-in and hybrid models.
"You can't keep a great workforce and a great business environment down for long," said Daniels. "Every trip starts with a single step, but this is a huge step on the way back to the prosperity we've always associated with Elkhart County."
The partner companies are seeking funding through the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which could expedite the job creation in Elkhart County. DOE's program provides loans to automobile and parts manufacturers for the cost of re-equipping, expanding or establishing U.S. manufacturing facilities to produce advanced technology vehicles or qualified components. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County have provided support for the partnership's request.
"In an effort to execute on Governor Mitch Daniels' program of bringing the State of Indiana into the world of electric vehicle manufacturing as a major supply source, on a global basis, we at EMC applaud the two cities of Wakarusa and Nappanee, and Elkhart County, Indiana, that have come together to fight unemployment and build a future prosperity," said Wil Cashen, chief executive officer of Electric Motors Corporation. "Our participation in this effort, although a small participation, should be a large component in accomplishing the task of Indiana becoming one of the EV capitals of the world."
EMC, a Camarillo, Calif.,-based company which has operations in three states, plans to purchase an existing building in Wakarusa and hire 450 associates to produce and assemble electric motors. Gulf Stream Coach could increase its workforce by up to 1,200 jobs, which would include recall of some displaced workers. The company will utilize one of its existing dormant plants in Nappanee for assembly operations.
"We appreciate the efforts of our state and local officials to get employment restarted here in our community. This is excellent opportunity to bring in new technologies to provide for future growth," said Brian Shea, president of Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. "We look forward to working with Wil Cashen and EMC on the hybrid electrification of light duty pickup trucks."
The IEDC offered EMC up to $4.6 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. Gulf Stream Coach was offered $9.7 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $260,000 in training grants based on its job creation plans. Additionally the IEDC will provide Nappanee officials with a $75,000 grant to assist with fiber-optic infrastructure improvements for the proposed facility. The Town of Wakarusa and the City of Nappanee will consider additional tax phase-in for the project.
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase Elkhart County and the towns of Wakarusa and Nappanee in a new and more inventive light. We are building upon the strengths of our entrepreneurism, innovation and green vehicle technologies, to invigorate our existing mix of truck component, RV and leisure vehicle industries. Elkhart County, Indiana is re-energized by this new industry diversification. We anticipate the EV technologies that the EMC project represents will have a profound effect on our region," said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.