Canadian electric-vehicle maker ElectraMeccanica will build its three-wheeled, single-seat commuter car for the U.S. market at a factory in Mesa, Ariz. The company will also build an engineering technical centre in the city near Phoenix.
When fully operational, the new facility is expected to be capable of producing up to 20,000 Solo vehicles per year and create up to 500 new jobs, ElectraMeccanica said.
The technical centre will house multiple labs to support research facilities as well as vehicle chassis, battery pack and power electronics testing workshops.
CEO Paul Rivera said in a statement that he believes Mesa’s population size and density provides "a great talent pool" from which to draw.
“Arizona has fast become the electric vehicle centre of America thanks to our robust and growing workforce, vibrant innovation ecosystem, and ideal business environment,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement.
ElectraMeccanica, headquartered in Vancouver, didn’t say how much the facilities will cost to build, when they open or whether it received financial support from any level of government.
“Additional details around the assembly center including cost will be released at a later date,” ElectraMeccanica said in an email to Automotive News Canada. “ElectraMeccanica and Arizona are not releasing the incentives, but I can tell you that they chose Arizona for offering ElectraMeccanica the best overall comprehensive proposal – including land, building, and workforce. This coupled with the logistics benefits gave it the edge above the other states.”
The startup, with the help of BDO USA’s Site Selection & Incentives Practice, has been looking for a U.S. site since February 2020.
BDO initially identified seven candidates and sent requests for proposals to the chief economic development entities and local authorities in each state, which responded with detailed bids. In June, following comprehensive reviews and site visits, the automaker narrowed the candidate list to five. In August, the list was further narrowed to three states and in October, the company named Arizona and Tennessee as the two finalist states.
The last few months of the selection process involved rigorous proposal reviews and negotiations to select the best, suited partner.
BDO’s Tom Stringer said in a statement more details will become available at a later date.
The Solo is a purpose-built vehicle designed for urban living. It has a range of 100 miles — or 160 kilometres — and a top speed of 80 mph — about 130 km/h — making it drivable on highways, the company says. The Solo is equipped with front and rear crumple zones, side impact protection, a roll bar, torque-limiting control, as well as power steering, power brakes, air conditioning and a Bluetooth entertainment system. It starts at US$18,500, excluding shipping, in the United States.
The Solo won’t be sold in Canada, but is targeted for such U.S. markets as California.