Jobs may be en route to Elkhart County Company coming to Wakarusa to make electric hybrid vehicles
NAPPANEE — A county battered by job loss finally has some good news to talk about.
Electric Motors Corp., a company specializing in parts to make electric hybrid vehicles, is locating in the Wakarusa-Nappanee area — and may have the potential to bring thousands of jobs to Elkhart County.
The company, based in Camarillo, Calif., announced it is building an industrial park at the former DeMartini Building on Nelsons Parkway and County Road 19 in Wakarusa.
Local and company officials remain tight-lipped in regards to exactly how many jobs could be created, although a clearer picture will be painted at a 9:30 a.m. news conference with Gov. Mitch Daniels. The conference will be held at the DeMartini Building, 905 Nelsons Parkway.
However, letters written by state and local politicians to the federal government supporting a loan for Electric Motors are located on the company’s Web site. U.S. Rep Joe Donnelly wrote in a letter that the consortium could produce as many as 400 jobs within the first year and as many as 6,000 by 2012.The company will focus primarily on making parts — engines, chassis and possibly batteries — for heavy and light-duty trucks and recreational vehicles. The electric hybrids could have the potential to go as far as 230 miles using a regenerative system, said Electric Motors CEO Wil Cashen, a Mishawaka native and Penn High School graduate.
According to the company’s Web site, the goal is to establish a world-leading research, development, education and industrial center for Electric Vehicle Drive. That would include technology, engineering, design, energy efficiency, automobile assembly and manufacturing.
Cashen said it is projected that the use of electric drive vehicles will increase by 1,000 percent by 2013.
“One hundred years ago, Studebaker was making electric cars that went 40 miles,” Cashen said. “Today, (companies) still make cars that go 40. That’s why we’re going to try hybrids.”
Cashen is looking for additional buildings around the Nappanee-Wakarusa area and would like to see production begin “within a year.”
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