SYRACUSE, N.Y – A new New York company plans to complete financing this year for a plant to produce electric cars and begin rolling out the three-door, plug-in hatchbacks in late 2010, the company chief executive said Friday.
Bannon Automotive CEO Paul Wimer said at a news conference that Syracuse was chosen over sites in Kentucky, Michigan and elsewhere because of its proximity to key markets and the "dogged pursuit" of the Freeport-based startup by local, state and federal officials.
Gov. David Paterson said New York state is providing a $6.76 million package of grants and tax incentives to Bannon, and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he is trying to help Bannon obtain $52 million in federal loans and loan guarantees.
Bannon will invest $26.5 million into the plant.
The company has secured an exclusive North American licensing deal with Reva Electric Car Co. of Bangalore, India, to assemble the NXR. Reva cars are now sold across Asia and Europe.
Wimer said Bannon is finalizing selection of the plant site and the company is working to complete its financing by the end of 2009. It hopes to begin producing cars by the end of the third quarter of 2010, he said.
The company will initially employ 100 workers, but expects to have 250 workers within three years. Wimer said the plant will produce 15,000 to 20,000 cars a year.
If the company fails to produce the jobs it has promised, it will be required to pay back the money the state invests, plus interest, officials said.
The company will market at least two versions of the NXR that will come with a variety of options, including navigational and audio systems and climate control.
One model will operate on a lithium-ion battery and will be able to reach speeds of up to 65 mph with a range of 100 miles on a single household charge. It will cost between $20,000 and $25,000. A second city model would have a top speed of 50 mph, with a 50-mile range, on one charge of its cheaper lead-acid batteries. It would sell for about $17,000.
The company said it also selected central New York because of its strong labor force, history of manufacturing, ties to universities and commitment to green technology. Syracuse is home to the state's Center for Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems.