SF Motors is moving ahead with its plan to build electric vehicles at the former Hummer factory in Indiana.
This week, the startup is taking over the plant and it announced $160 million in investments to build all-electric SUVs at the factory.
It has been an exciting year for SF Motors, which is backed by China’s Sokon.
They have acquired AM General’s South Bend, Indiana assembly plant, where they used to produce the commercial Hummer, and they bought the electric powertrain startup founded by Martin Eberhard, Tesla co-founder.
Two months ago, they also unveiled the two first all-electric vehicles that they plan to bring to production in Indiana, as well as in China.
Last fall, the contract to build Mercedes SUVs, which came after the Hummer went out of production, ran out at AM General’s South Bend factory, which resulted in over 300 layoffs.
This week, SF Motors announced a deal to invest $160 million in the factory (significantly more than the $30 million they promised last year when buying the factory) and to bring back 467 jobs by 2020.
John Zhang, Founder and CEO of SF Motors, made the announcement:
“We are proud to partner with Indiana to create up to 467 new jobs, supporting the greater Mishawaka and South Bend economy. 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.”
Gov. Holcomb was also present at the announcement and added:
“Indiana’s reputation as a destination for business continues to be heard across the U.S. and around the world, attracting companies like SF Motors. With a world of options, we’re thrilled SF Motors chose to expand in Indiana. We look forward to witnessing their continued success in Indiana as they develop 21st-century solutions with the help of our talented Hoosier workforce.”
The investment will be used to retool 675,500-square-foot facility and prepare for the production of SF’s all-electric SUV.
The company announced plans to have vehicles on the road as soon as next year, but it’s not clear if the Indiana factory will be ready by then. SF Motors also has a factory in China.
At the risk of repeating myself, like with Rivian Automotive, I have a lot more hope in SF Motors than the previous EV startups such as Lucid Motors and Faraday Future. This is because of the way that they have fleshed out manufacturing plans before unveiling concept vehicles and embarking on marketing campaigns.
I still think that having vehicles on the road as soon as next year is a bit aggressive, but they are supposedly going to release more details about their plans later this year.
With EV tech Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, Chinese money, and a significant US factory, I think It’s certainly a startup to keep an eye on.