Electric Vehicle Maker Breathes New Life Into Prominent Plant

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SF Motors unveiled concept vehicles in May during an event in California. SF Motors unveiled concept vehicles in May during an event in California.
MISHAWAKA -

St. Joseph County is giving a nod to its past while looking to a greener future, thanks to May's major announcement from SF Motors.

The California-based global intelligent electric vehicle company has detailed plans to invest more than $160 million to bring manufacturing operations to the former AM General plant in Mishawaka and create up to 467 jobs by 2020.

The more than 675,000 square-foot facility will serve as the company's primary U.S.-based manufacturing plant. SF Motors acquired the plant in November and is equipping it to produce at least two lines of its first electric vehicle models. The company hopes to begin trial production before the end of the year.

SF Motors founder and Chief Executive Officer John Zhang says the significant investment will allow it to revitalize and retool the plant, “future-proofing” it for years to come.

The EV maker already employs more than 300 associates throughout the United States, and hopes to have about 200 workers at the Mishawaka facility by the end of this year. The company will be able to tap into a ready-made workforce, with plans to hire many of the displaced workers from the former AM General plant. Zhang says the investment will also fund extensive technical training for its Mishawaka employees, “further advancing an already high-skilled workforce.”

Governor Eric Holcomb says SF Motors chose Indiana from “a world of options.” One of the reasons for that, Zhang says, is the state’s traditional stronghold in the auto sector.

“Indiana also has one of the most vibrant and nurturing automotive ecosystems in the world,” said Zhang during the May announcement. “The regional access to a mature automotive supply chain was another significant draw for selecting Mishawaka, and we look forward to working closely with local suppliers.”

The continuation of the state’s auto heritage was also not lost on St. Joseph County Commissioner Andy Koscielny, who also spoke at the announcement.

“Not since the glory days of Studebaker has this area been on the cutting edge of automobile technology the way we are today,” he said. “One of the very first cars (Studebaker) developed was electric in nature.”

The state is buying into the potential of electric vehicle manufacturing in Mishawaka. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is offering SF Motors more than $4 million in conditional tax credits and training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Governor Holcomb says he’s thrilled the Silicon Valley-based company chose Indiana to produce "21st-century solutions with the help of our talented Hoosier workforce."

Building on Indiana and Elkhart County’s strong automotive history, SF Motors believes the future of the sector is green.

“We are proud to partner with Indiana,” says Zhang. “We see this partnership as the beginning of a bright and prosperous future.”

SF Motors founder and Chief Executive Officer John Zhang outlines the company's hiring plans.
St. Joseph County Commissioner Andy Koscielny says the county is a perfect landing spot for SF Motors.
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