BC electric car maker could move operations overseas

BC electric car maker could move operations overseas

WATCH: The CEO of ElectraMeccanica Vehicle Corp., an electric car maker, says the company might move its operations overseas following large interest in their new product. As Calvin To reports guests at a Victoria hotel got to see first hand what all the buzz was about.

ElectraMeccanica CEO Jerry Kroll says his company might move its operations overseas. The company is the maker of the “SOLO” single seater electric vehicle.

It is now part of a new program at the Hilton DoubleTree in Victoria called “My Stay, My Car,” where guests can rent green vehicles for a $20-30 fee.

Proponents say the program is good for the economy while providing visitors with a green mode of transportation.

The chassis for the SOLO are currently made on Vancouver Island and the vehicle is assembled in New Westminster. But that might not be the case for much longer.

According to Kroll, the company has orders for 13,000 SOLOs, and production is moving overseas to increase capacity.

He says he’d prefer to keep operations in Canada, but that other jurisdictions have already been approaching him.

“Right now in China, we’re opening up a 50,000 sq. ft. facility. It’ll come online in the next month or two, and we’re talking to Nevada and California about opening up a 650,000 sq. ft. facility down there,” he said.

The company currently employs six people on Vancouver Island and more than 40 on the mainland. But with expansions on the way, Kroll says there could be 2,000 to 3,000 potential jobs that B.C. could lose out on.

“As a Canadian, it feels like killing the Avro Arrow twice,” he said. “Once these clean tech jobs and the technology developing it leaves British Columbia, it will not come back. We’ll have a province of baristas who are making coffees, saving money, and buying cars that’ll be developed and manufactured offshore.”

Kroll said he had previously met with cabinet ministers in the former B.C. Liberal government, but that nothing came of those meetings.

In a statement, the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology said:

?The Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology has not received a formal funding proposal from the ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corporation. It is my understanding that the old government, via the former Ministry of Technology and Citizens? Services, the former Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and the former Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Energy and Mines had offered advice to explore some avenues from which the company could apply for funding support, however, it doesn?t appear that any applications were received from the company… the ElectraMeccanica SOLO could potentially access Clean Energy Vehicles for BC (CEVforBC) vehicle incentives if the vehicles meet the program criteria. We invite ElectraMeccanica to apply to this incentive program.”

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