Electric car plant could bring 4,000 jobs to rural Ky. town

By Shayla Reaves - bio | email

FRANKLIN, KY (WAVE) - Soon people in Kentucky won't just be driving electric cars, they'll be making them. On Monday Integrity Automotive announced plans to build an $84 million plant in Simpson County. It's part of a partnership with the California-based Zero Air Pollution or ZAP Electric Car Company. As WAVE 3's Shayla Reaves reports, and will create thousands of new jobs.

New jobs are on the way to Kentucky, thanks to electric cars. Integrity Automotive announced plans to expand operations and build a brand new plant in the Bluegrass that will manufacture low-speed electric vehicles and bring a China-based manufacturing operation to Franklin, Kentucky.

"Some of the cars that will be manufactured at the plant have a range of 350 to 400 miles on a 20 minute charge," said Integrity Automotive CEO Randall Waldman at a press conference Monday in Frankfort. "Those are the high-speed vehicles, all of which will be manufactured at the plant."

"I'm hoping that someday out there in the future that Franklin may be known for this plant like Georgetown is for Toyota," said Simpson County Judge/Executive Jim Henderson. "I mean I think it has that kind of potential."

Franklin is about 135 miles southwest of Louisville.

The announcement came after Governor Steve Beshear signed an Executive Order to make electric cars legal for some Kentucky roads. The state also offered a tax incentive package worth up to $48 million to entice Integrity Automotive and ZAP to form a partnership in Kentucky.

"Creating jobs that increase family income is the core element of solving many of the problems facing our state," Beshear said. "This represents an investment not only in this community, but in the future of this country."

Wages at the plant will average around $20 an hour, plus benefits. State incentives are rewarded based on the company's commitment to hire. That means 4,000 full-time positions must be filled within four years of the project's completion.

"Integrity is here to stay," Waldman said.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. August 28 at the Franklin Industrial Park in Franklin, Kentucky. The plant is expected to be complete next year, and is expected to produce 500 cars a day.