Mullen Technologies recently announced development of an electric SUV preproduction facility in California, but it’s unclear if the company’s new plans will affect the timeline for its proposed electric sports car assembly plant on Spokane’s West Plains.
The company said it began construction earlier this month to transform its high-voltage battery research and development center in Monrovia, California, into a preproduction pilot facility for its MX-05 all-wheel drive electric SUV, which will have a range of 325 miles and start at $55,000, according to a company release.
The pilot facility will employ 100 people and be used to assemble more than 1,000 MX-05 electric SUVs per year, in addition to assembling batteries, according to the company. It will include a research and development facility and warehouse. It would also be used to assemble future vehicle models, such as the company’s MX-03 and MX-07, according to the release.
Construction of the California plant is slated for completion in April with the first MX-05 SUVs delivered to customers in May 2022.
Mullen’s announcement in late September made no mention of its plans to assemble the Dragonfly K50 electric sports car on the West Plains, although the company is continuing to accept pre-orders for the vehicle, which it says will launch in the first half of 2021 using Independent Commercial Importers.
Independent Commercial Importers are entities that have obtained U.S. Environmental Protection Agency credentials to import vehicles into the country, according to a company release.
Mullen Technologies did not respond to a request for comment about the status or timeline of the proposed West Plains facility.
At the 2020 J.P. Morgan Virtual Auto Conference in August, Mullen Automotive CEO Calin Popa said during the company’s presentation that it was in the design phase for the West Plains manufacturing facility and the company would be ready to break ground in the next two months.
Mullen Automotive is a division of Mullen Technologies.
In July, Mullen Technologies renewed a letter of intent with S3R3 Solutions –formerly the West Plains Public Development Authority – that calls for the agency to build and lease 1.3 million square feet of assembly and manufacturing space to produce the Dragonfly K50 electric sports car.
The project is to be financed through a revenue bond that would be paid back through the lease agreement with Mullen Technologies.
Mullen Technologies said in July it intends to meet requirements of the letter of intent with S3R3 Solutions later this year and anticipates starting assembly and development of the Dragonfly K50’s battery packs in a 500,000-square-foot facility that will span an additional 800,000 square feet as battery production expands.
In August, Mullen Technologies announced plans to merge with Miami-based Net Element, a publicly-traded electronic payment company. The reverse merger, a process in which a privately-held company takes control of a publicly traded company, allows Mullen to acquire Net Element and bypass what could be a somewhat lengthy process to go public on its own. It also would provide Mullen with capital needed to grow the company.
The merger is pending due diligence, shareholder and Nasdaq approval.
S3R3 Solutions Executive Director Todd Coleman said in an email the agency’s requirements in the letter of intent with Mullen remain unchanged and according to Mullen Technologies CEO David Michery, Spokane is key to development and production of the company’s future battery technology.
“We continue to monitor the progress of Mullen Technologies and Spokane continues to be a part of their strategic facilities,” he said in the email. “Currently, we are tracking the reverse merger with Net Element. This merger is critical to raising the financing Mullen needs to move its plans forward. There have been many moving parts as their plans mature.”
Mullen Technologies has several subsidiaries, including Mullen Auto Sales, a group of preowned car dealerships in California and Arizona; CarHub, a digital platform for buying and selling cars; Mullen Energy, a division that focuses on advancing battery technology; and Mullen Finance Corp., which offers vehicle leases and loans.
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