India's Reva May Build Electric Car Plant In U.S.

According to Associated Press source, Reva Electric Car Co., has chosen upstate New York for a factory to build electric cars for North America.

SYRACUSE, New York (AP) -- An Indian car company has chosen upstate New York for a factory to build a new generation of electric cars for North America, a state official said Thursday.

The Reva Electric Car Co. will work with Bannon Automotive, a new electric car company in Freeport, N.Y., to assemble a three-door plug-in hatchback, the NXR, at a site in the Syracuse area, according to the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the announcement hadn't been made.

The Metropolitan Development Agency scheduled a news conference Friday afternoon to announce the deal, and an agency spokesman declined to release details until that time. Gov. David Paterson and Sen. Charles Schumer were scheduled to take part in the announcement.

Bannon Automotive has secured an exclusive North American licensing deal with Reva, and the companies have agreed to spend $26.5 million on the plant, The Post-Standard of Syracuse reported this week. Bannon officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Bannon will renovate a 150,000-square-foot building in Clay, a Syracuse suburb, the newspaper reported.

The state will provide $3 million in Empire State Development Corp. grants and $3.76 million in tax incentives and breaks, the state official said. Paterson met with Reva officials in May, and touted the fact that New York would receive federal stimulus grant money for research into advanced battery technology.

The source also said the state Assembly and Senate will kick in other funding, pushing the package over $10 million.

Bannon also has applied for $40 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Energy and $12 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency. Those requests are still pending, a Schumer spokesman said.

The plant is expected to be operating next year, with an initial work force of 100 that will grow to 250 workers over three years.

Reva is based in Bangalore, India. It unveiled the three-door NXR hatchback last month at an international auto show in Frankfurt, Germany.

The NXR can reach speeds of 65 mph with a range of 100 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack. The car will come with a 15-minute fast-charge capability, although the full charge would take eight hours from a standard household outlet.

Reva was established in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group of India and AEV LLC, a California company, to manufacture environmentally friendly and cost-effective electric vehicles. The cars are now sold across Asia and Europe.

There are more than two dozen companies now manufacturing or planning to manufacture electric cars in the United States, according to industry figures.

Associated Press writer Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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