A three-year-old startup called Emerald Automotive has plans to launch a line of hybrid electric vans that it says would be made in Hazelwood.
The British-based automotive company said it plans to bring 600 jobs to the Hazelwood area by building a new plant to manufacture electric vehicles by 2014. The company will hire 300 people by 2013 and have the full workforce about 600 the year following.
The vehicles would be lightweight delivery vans for European commercial fleets, that would eventually be sold in the U.S. and potentially Asia.
Emerald Automotive signed a $5 million incentive package with Hazelwood City Council at a special meeting Wednesday, making it possible for the company to build a plant and manufacture the vans.
The City of Hazelwood is planning to loan the company $3 million, to be paid back with interest in 10 years or less. Another $2 million is coming from the Missouri Technology Corp. The search for a site has been in the works for more than a year and the old Ford manufacturing plant site is said to be in consideration.
According to Hazelwood’s mayor, Matthew Robinson, plans for building this plant have been "in process for several months."
“We're ready to make a commitment to Missouri and to Hazelwood,” said Sharon Heaton, Emerald's general counsel and managing director of Wellford Energy, a clean tech advisory firm that advised Emerald's move overseas. “We are absolutely committed to being there.”
The company is looking to raise $160 million to build the plant. That will include private financing and additional public funding from the U.S. federal government. The United Kingdom also provided a $5 million grant to help Emerald globalize its technology.
Emerald Automotive picked Missouri as its new location after looking at offers from more than 24 other states. Missouri was the prime choice for its geographic location and the supply of skilled auto workers in the area, most of whom once worked at the old .
According to Emerald Automotive, Hazelwood would become the company's North American manufacturing hub. It is unknown how much of the funds the company says it needs, have already been secured.
Stay with Hazelwood Patch as we bring updates on the deal and its progress.