Chinese-owned electric vehicle developer SF Motors Inc. is planning to open a $160 million plant in northern Indiana by the end of 2020, state officials announced Wednesday. The plant will be used for North American EV production.
SF Motors, established by China's Chongqing Sokon Industry Group and based in Silicon Valley, says it expects to open at least two manufacturing lines at the plant for its inaugural EV models -- the SF5 and SF7 -- with trial production on the SF5 beginning by the end of the year.
The company said it will begin putting its EVs on the road in 2019, even before full production begins at the plant by the end of 2020.
"With this investment and renovation, we are well poised to bring our cutting-edge vehicles to the highway by 2019 and closer to carrying out our global mission -- to transform human mobility through intelligent electric vehicles," SF Motors founder and CEO John Zhang said in a statement.
The renovated 675,500-square-foot former AM General commercial assembly plant will be home to the company's body and paint shop, general assembly operations and office administration.
SF Motors, founded in 2016, employs 300 employees in manufacturing and r&d sites in the U.S., Germany and China. The company acquired the plant in Mishawaka, Ind., last November.
The company has plans to hire many of the 435 employees who lost their jobs when AM General closed the plant. The facility could employ 200 workers by the end of the year.
The company also has said it created a proprietary powertrain that includes custom motors, gearboxes, battery cells and packs, and electronic controllers, and it expects to begin taking preorders on its vehicles later this year to deliver in 2019.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. plans to offer the company up to $3.85 million in conditional tax credits and up to $500,000 in training grants, so long as the company meets the stipulated hiring goals. The company also may receive additional conditional tax credits from the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit program and incentives from county officials.