Electric truck-van manufacturer to locate in Osceola, bring 800 jobs

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 2,817 views 

Envirotech Vehicles will locate a multimillion-dollar commercial electric vehicle plant in Osceola, with plans to hire up to 800 workers over the next 10 years.

The 90-acre, 580,000-square-foot manufacturing facility will be located in a vacant Fruit of the Loom factory in Mississippi County in northeast Arkansas.

Envirotech Vehicles (EVTV) purchased the facility from the city of Osceola and intends to initially utilize the plant to handle the final outfitting and shipment of its imported vehicles while simultaneously converting the plant into a full manufacturing operation. The total cost of the project is an estimated investment of more than $80 million within five years, which includes the cost of the building, equipment and other costs.

The announcement is the second major announcement in a month for Osceola, which also landed a $3 billion U.S. Steel mill plant in January. It is the second electric vehicle maker to announce plans in Arkansas with Texas-based startup Canoo announcing in November 2021 it would locate its headquarters in Bentonville and a research and development facility in Fayetteville.

Envirotech Vehicles is a California-based commercial electric vehicle maker that makes trucks and vans primarily for last-mile delivery. They frequently sell fleet orders to customers. Rogers-based Shine Solar, a solar panel company, is one of Envirotech’s customers.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have chosen Osceola as the home of our first U.S.-based manufacturing facility, backed with the support of the Great River Economic Development Foundation and the state of Arkansas,” said Phillip Oldridge, CEO of Envirotech Vehicles. “We are confident that Osceola has the perfect business climate and local workforce to allow us to see growth and success in the region as the state’s first commercial electric vehicle manufacturer.”

Company officials tell Talk Business & Politics that the workforce in Arkansas, as well as facilities, central location, and proximity to the steel needed for production, were motivators for its move to the state.

“We picked Arkansas because of the people and the source of local product. Steel is here. Arkansas has everything to make a vehicle, and no vehicle manufacturers,” said Envirotech EVP Sue Emry, who has already relocated with her family to Osceola.

“It is very important to us that our executives live in Mississippi County and that our kids go to school in Mississippi County,” she said.

Partial assembly production will begin in the first quarter of this year, but within a year, Emry said she expects complete assembly production will take place in Mississippi County.

You can watch an interview with Emry in the video below.