Los Angeles Business Journal

Electric Delivery Van Maker Plans L.A. Assembly Plant

By James Rufus Koren Originally published May 4, 2012 at 3:06 p.m., updated May 4, 2012 at 4:41 p.m.

A Colorado startup plans to manufacture electric delivery vans in Los Angeles, joining several other electric-vehicle makers in the city.

Boulder Electric Vehicle, based in Lafayette, has leased a 27,714-square-foot industrial building on Irondale Avenue in Chatsworth, according to real estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has championed clean tech manufacturing, plans to discuss Boulder’s plans during a keynote address Monday at the International Electric Vehicle Symposium at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Other electric vehicle makers to locate in Los Angeles are Coda Automotive Inc., which is headquartered in West Los Angeles, and BYD Auto Co., a Chinese company with U.S. headquarters downtown. Unlike those companies, which manufacture vehicles elsewhere, Boulder plans to assemble its vehicles here for sale in California and for export to Asia.

“We chose Los Angeles because of its access to a skilled, educated work force, close proximity to the ports and a large population which is leading in adoption of electric vehicles,” said Boulder Chief Executive Carter Brown in the statement issued by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Boulder makes battery-powered, lightweight delivery vans with bodies made from composite material. Brown said Boulder has already started moving into the new plant and should be producing trucks by the beginning of next year. The plant will start out producing about 1,000 trucks a year with 30 workers, but could ramp up to 3,000 vehicles and 150 workers.

Boulder last year received a $3 million grant from the California Energy Commission to help it expand into California. The new plant is within the boundaries of a state enterprise zone, giving the company tax breaks and other incentives. Villaraigosa’s office helped Boulder with site selection and city permitting.

“Los Angeles is proud to welcome Boulder EV to Los Angeles – the city that creates and innovates,” said Villaraigosa in a statement. “Boulder EV’s manufacturing facility will bring a new edge to our growing EV economy and much needed clean, green jobs.”