In yet another sign of the rapidly developing electric vehicle market, Korea-based CT&T has reached a milestone in its plans to manufacture its all-electric eZONE passenger car in the U.S. Last fall the company announced that it would build a series of factories in the U.S. based on its proprietary regional assembly and sales model, and it looks like Spartanburg County, South Carolina will host the first one. Teamed with project management specialists 2AM Group LLC, the new factory represents an investment of $21 million that will bring 370 new jobs to the area within the next five years.
The word from CT&T’s was just one in a flurry of electric vehicle announcements last week, which included GM’s launch of a cross country tour for the Chevy Volt, the release of a sketch of BMW’s new electric car, and an announcement from Volkswagen that it will bring its E-UP! electric car to the U.S. within the next couple of years.
An Electric Car for Everyone
A visual scan of last week’s offerings shows that electric vehicle manufacturers are quickly staking out their market niches. The LEAF satisfies the compact, small family, commuter car niche; the Volt’s semi-classic styling and extended range gasoline engine reaches out to traditional car buyers who are looking for a way to ease comfortably into the all-electric future; while BMW’s futuristic styling aims squarely at buyers who are itching to take a daring head-first plunge; and the E-Up’s compact silhouette appeals to people who prefer to explain their choice of ride as a matter of practicality, not do-goodyness. And then there’s the Tesla, which basically appeals to anybody who can afford it.
How the eZONE Fits Into the Electric Vehicle Puzzle
CT&T has staked out somewhat unique territory for the eZONE and its sister, the cZONE. As reported by Jason Spencer at GoUpstate.com, CT&T’s Chief Operating Officer Joe White describes a scenario in which one family owns multiple cars for different purposes, and one of them will be an electric vehicle. That’s pretty much today’s reality, in which many families own a minivan or an SUV as well as a sedan. Since most driving involves the kind of short local trips that fit the eZONE’s profile, there’s a lot of potential in that sector alone. You can also add the potential for use by various government agencies, messenger services, and other fleets.
More Green Jobs in the U.S.A.
The 370 new jobs in Spartanburg County are just a start for CT&T. As noted above, the company plans to roll out a number of facilities based on its production model, and in addition will develop a U.S. headquarters and research facilities. On top of that, Spencer notes that while the Spartanburg facility is slated to start production in September with imported parts, it plans to move to all made-in-the-U.S.A. parts within the next 18 months.
Image: eZONE via gas20 archive.