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Electric car maker could set up in Northeast Ohio
The four-location operation is envisioned for Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties in Ohio, and Mercer County in Pennsylvania

Tim Rudell
Antonio Pierce, founder of Velfera Auto Design
Courtesy of Velfera Auto Design
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A company that wants to create small electric-powered commercial vehicles wants to put four of its development facilities in the region. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

LISTEN: Overview of the project

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Texas-based Velfera Auto Design, which, among other things, creates high-tech components for exotic cars signed its third letter of intent for property in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. 

If financing for its overall project comes through, the 87-acre parcel near Youngstown-Warren airport will be for R&D.  Velfera spokesman Vic Rubenstein says three other area sites are in play.

Production and jobs
“East Liverpool is going to be a small, vehicles-assembly plant. Mercer, Pa., is going to be a honeycomb production facility for auto parts and panels. The fourth piece of the puzzle is still in negotiation because they’re going to need a test track, and they’re going to need several hundred acres.”

Velfera intends to use cutting-edge battery technology and component production--including 3D printing—to create lightweight chassis and electric power-trains for business and service vehicles used in cities. But, going forward with the project is funding dependent, which is why the property commitments are all contingent.

LISTEN: Rubenstein on incentives
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“They’re all negotiated with letters of intent at this point.  Based on the company’s ability to provide its own financing, and incentives from the States of Ohio and Pennsylvania.”

The project is said to need about $130 million to get rolling.  And, it would employ about 180 people initially and up to 300 across the four locations when fully operational.

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