Autonomous electric vehicle maker Navya is set to open its first US production plant. Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Ann Arbor Spark are to collaborate with Navya on site selection and talent recruitment.
In a joint statement, Navya, MEDC and Ann Arbor Spark said the Michigan plant will be located in the city of Saline, Michigan with a 20,000+ sq ft facility.
Navya plans to build approximately 25 of its Arma fully autonomous and electric shuttle vehicles at the plant before the close of 2017.
Navya’s Arma shuttle has become a popular choice as a first and last mile transportation solution.
The company has a fleet of 45 vehicles deployed worldwide and almost 200,000 passengers have been transported to date.
With the addition of its new plant in Saline the company says it will be able to boost production significantly to serve the growing North American market.
Navya CEO Christophe Sapet says: “We at Navya could not be more pleased to call Saline, Michigan home to our first assembly plant in North America.
“As the greater Ann Arbor area continues to establish itself as a hub for autonomous vehicle development, we feel it’s the perfect location for us.
“Strong government and community support for mobility initiatives combined with an excellent talent pool provide the ideal environment for our expansion in North America.”
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of more than $1 million and create 50 jobs, resulting in a $435,000 Michigan Business Development performance-based grant.
The funds are approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund and administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Trevor Pawl, MEDC group vice president, says: “Michigan is at the forefront of mobility and autonomous vehicle development, and Navya’s decision to establish its first U.S. facility in Saline further solidifies our leadership position in that space.
“We applaud Navya’s commitment to Michigan and look forward to working with the company as it continues to develop advanced mobility vehicles and technologies.”
The MEDC has established something called Planet M, the state’s new economic development initiative set up to help mobility companies enter Michigan.
Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark, says: “Navya’s growth in the Ann Arbor region is fueled by our region’s commitment to innovation in mobility technology, and the talented people who think and work on these issues every day throughout our region.
“We’re excited to add depth to our technical prowess in this region, and to be part of Navya tapping in to the manufacturing and engineering capabilities here as it moves forward in making some of the world’s first autonomous mass transit vehicles.
“Navya is a terrific contribution to our prominence in the connected and autonomous vehicle industry.”
Ann Arbor Spark hosted Navya during its first visit to the region as part of a French Mobility delegation in 2015. Going forward, Ann Arbor Spark will help Navya locate the employees it needs to continue its growth at its new manufacturing facility in Saline.
Brian Marl, Mayor of Saline, says: “The City of Saline is ecstatic to welcome Navya to our community, and I have no doubt that they will become an important and valued member of our already stellar business community.
“Navya is an innovative company, working on the latest autonomous vehicle technology. I believe that their future is bright, and the City of Saline looks forward to assisting and supporting them in every reasonable way.”