YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are plans to build electric cars for commercial use around Youngstown.
Tony Pierce of Dallas, Texas, has started a company called Velfera, and he plans to use several sites and eventually employ 500 people.
Pierce is an engineer. He has owned an electronics company, and now he wants to build these vehicles around the Youngstown area. He said the area is ideal because of the low costs of doing business and access to skilled workers.
“The cost of setting up a facility at the scale we’re trying to do it at is tremendous. Anywhere else in the country, we would literally be adding a zero to our development program, and here, we’re able to do it cost-effectively,” he said.
Pierce said he will build vehicles that get 300 miles to a charge.
The main assembly plant for Velfera’s electric cars will be in East Liverpool, at the site of the former Riverview Florist Company. The sub-assembly of automotive parts is planned for two new 80,000 square-foot buildings at Greenville’s Reynolds East Business Park.
Then there’s the research and development technology park on King Graves Road in Vienna. A test track will also be built someone in the Youngstown area.
When asked if he was concerned about the financing of the project, Pierce said that always concerns him. That is what he does every day.
Pierce said, however, that he is optimistic.
“We have an existing pool of ready talent. We have access to the right amount of property… As I said, that would be difficult to do anywhere else in the country, other than here,” he said.
If everything goes as planned, he hopes to break ground in Greenville in the second quarter of next year, with the East Liverpool plant right after.
The plan is to have a car built by 2017.