Electric car maker targets Indiana for $160M plant, 467 jobs

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SF Motors Inc., a Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle developer and manufacturer, plans to open a $160 million plant in northern Indiana that’s expected to employ as many as 467 workers by the end of 2020, state officials announced Wednesday morning.

The company acquired the former AM General commercial assembly plant in Mishawaka in November and intends to renovate and equip the 675,500-square-foot facility. SF Motors said it expects to open at least two manufacturing lines at the plant for its first EV models, the SF5 and SF 7, with trial production beginning by the end of the year.

The company said it plans to hire many of the 435 employees who lost their jobs late last year when AM General closed the plant after the end of a two-year contract with Mercedes Benz.

SF Motors officials said they are already hiring in Indiana and could have as many as 200 employees in Mishawaka by the end of the year.

The 35-acre Mishawaka corporate campus is slated to house the company’s body and paint shop, general assembly operations and office administration.

Pending approval from its board of directors, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. plans to offer SF Motors up to $3.85 million in conditional tax credits and up to $500,000 in training grants based on the job-creation plans. The credits hinge on the company’s ability to meet hiring goals.

The IEDC also offered the company up to $653,000 in conditional tax credits from the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit, or DINO, program, which encourages companies to invest in former industrial facilities requiring significant rehabilitation or remodeling expenses. St. Joseph County will consider additional incentives.

Founded in 2016, SF Motors is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. It has 300 total employees at manufacturing sites in Indiana and China, and in research and development facilities in the United States, Germany and China.   

SF Motors says it has created a proprietary powertrain that includes custom motors, gearboxes, battery cells and packs, and electronic controllers, giving the company control and flexibility in the design of their vehicles. The company expects to begin taking preorders on the vehicles this year with delivery beginning next year.

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