GreenPower Motor Company Inc. (NASDAQ: GP) is planting its flag in West Virginia with an 80,000-square-foot building where it will manufacture electric-powered school buses and other zero-emission vehicles.
The state’s governor, Jim Justice, announced that West Virginia will provide up to $3.5 million in employment incentive payments to GreenPower for the 900 jobs expected at the South Charleston facility. Justice also said that the state is committed to buy at least $15 million worth of GreenPower vehicles produced at the facility.
“I would like to be the first to welcome GreenPower to West Virginia with open arms,” Justice said in a news release. “We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to live and work in the paradise that our state offers. West Virginia continues to be the best place to do business. I’m excited to help support GreenPower on this important project and for what the future holds for their great company and our great state.”
Brendan Riley, president of GreenPower, said the new facility marks the company’s first expansion east of the Mississippi River.
“As West Virginia’s economy expands and diversifies, it is important to provide skilled and high-skilled jobs to West Virginia workers for a 21st century economy,” Riley said. “Our facility will provide both training and immediate employment opportunities with a competitive wage.”
The company’s decision to locate the new facility in West Virginia won praise from several state officials.
“West Virginia is ideally positioned to lead the nation in transitioning to electrification of the transportation network, battery research and development, and environmentally sustainable vehicles,” said Mitch Carmichael, the state’s secretary of economic development.
West Virginia’s Senate President Craig Blair said his state has worked diligently to make itself attractive for new or expanding businesses. “Our accomplishments are delivering great results as evidenced by the selection of West Virginia by GreenPower Motor Company,” Blair said.
South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullins said the city was thrilled to have GreenPower join its business community.
“We are in a period of prosperity and growth, and this manufacturing plant being located in South Charleston is one more feather in our cap,” Mullins said. “Most importantly to the city’s future is the kind of company GreenPower is. This is a 2022-and-beyond company with a sustainable product for the long run.”
Production is expected to begin by the second half of 2022. The lease/purchase agreement on the 9.5 acres requires no cash up front. Monthly lease payments begin nine months after production starts and all lease payments are expected to be applied in full to purchase of the property. Title will go to GreenPower after total lease and incentive payments reach $6.7 million, according to a news release.