New Electric Van Company Starting Production This Fall At Old Mishawaka Hummer Plant
On June 28, Electric Last Mile Solutions completed its purchase of the old Hummer plant in Mishawaka and went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange at $11.56 a share.
This fall, the company plans to start production on its series of small electric utility vans — think what your cable technician or plumber might use.
CEO James Taylor said that compared to passenger cars, it’s an untapped market in the United States.
“We really want to take advantage of being first mover status. There is nobody in that segment now with any electric vans,” he said. “If you give a practical vehicle that’s reliable, goes A to B, is electric, does it’s job and is low cost, what’s not to like?”
As part of ramping up production, the company is hiring immediately — Taylor said they hope to have 50 employees at the plant by August and 100 by the end of the year.
AM General’s old Hummer plant was previously purchased by Seres Automotive, a U.S. based subsidiary of Chinese company Chongqing Sokon Industry Group.
Seres, formerly known as SF Motors, spent about $20 million upgrading the plant to make electric crossover SUVs, but ended up cancelling those plans due to shifts in the market.
At the time, Taylor was the CEO of Seres, and he also oversaw the Hummer brand before it was retired in 2010.
He said that history put ELMS in the right place at the right time to take over the plant and get production going quickly.
“I’ll start a new company. I’ll buy the plant from you. If you supply us the parts, we have a deal,” Taylor said. “We agreed to that last fall, and that was the premise for establishing this new company.”
The vans have a range of 150 miles — Taylor said the company’s market research shows typical in-town work vans drive 40 to 60 miles a day — and will be upfitted and customized to what the purchaser will use the vehicle for in the factory.
They sell for $32,500, but that goes down to $25,000 after $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit.
“We wanted to be at price parity with a gas vehicle,” Taylor said. “Today, if you’re going to go buy a Ford Transit Connect, for instance, or a Ram ProMaster City, it’s about $25,000.”
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