Building the Electric Valley: Inside Arizona’s push to become an electric vehicle hub
Arizona has drawn national attention recently thanks to Lucid Motors, Nikola Corp., ElectraMeccanica and Local Motors all choosing to build their EVs in the state. Yet some observers think — or hope — that this is just the beginning.
Electric vehicles offer Phoenix a chance to define its technological prowess, to move into the top echelon of American tech hubs and pave the way in electrification. The opportunity is obvious — EVs account for less than 3% of new car sales in the U.S. in recent years, according to a recent Pew survey — but wrestling control away from traditional vehicle manufacturing hubs won’t be easy.
The presence of international chipmaking giants Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. will help by ensuring a strong supply of advanced manufacturing talent in the area and these large enterprises are flanked by smaller companies and universities in the Valley that together make up an ecosystem ripe for technological collaboration.
“We want the EV collaboration to happen here in Arizona,” said Jim Maury, CEO of Zero Electric Vehicles in Tempe, a company building kits to convert gasoline vans into electric vehicles. “I think we can continue to build on that and really coin the phrase, EV Valley. I think Arizona is a great place for it.”
Some of the pieces are falling into place: Battery recycler Li-Cycle is building in Gilbert, EV parts producer UCAJ Whitehall is setting up shop in Flagstaff and the state has long been home to proving grounds where automakers test their tech (including EVs) in the state’s signature heat.
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