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Ferndale assembly facility ribbon cutting with Gov. Inslee scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday)

FERNDALE, Wash. — Publicists with electric bus and truck manufacturer, Vicinity Motor Corp. (VMC), told Whatcom News that tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12th, the Aldergrove, British Columbia-based electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer will be officially opening its 100,000-square-foot facility on LaBounty Drive in Ferndale.

The state-of-the-art facility will immediately start cutting into VMC’s order backlog of more than $150 million. Vicinity Motor Corp. (September 11, 2023)

The announcement focused on the company’s newest vehicle, the VMC 1200 electric commercial delivery truck. It’s battery technology provides up to 150 kWh of power, enabling the 1200 to travel up to 150 miles on a single charge.

Tomorrow’s media event is scheduled to include a ribbon-cutting which will be followed by remarks from company CEO Will Trainer, Governor Jay Inslee and others.

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The publicists were not immediately able to detail how many would come from the local candidate pool. The announcement added that the facility will “improve access to Canadian port, rail, and truck shipping and receiving facilities between Ferndale and Vancouver.”

This event may be visible to motorists on I-5 traveling south of the Main Street interchange in Ferndale as well as those passing on LaBounty Drive.

VMC has said this is a $22 million facility. The company announced in 2021 that the State of Washington had placed their products on a statewide purchasing contract enabling state transit agencies to purchase from VMC. The facility is reportedly capable of producing 1,000 electric, CNG, gas and clean-diesel vehicles annually.

According to the announcement, by assembling the vehicles at the Ferndale location, they will meet requirements for “Buy America”-compliant assembly. “Build America, Buy America” are a set of federal requirements to ensure federally funded infrastructure purchases support products made in the US by American workers. Manufactured products must be manufactured in the United States and more than 55% of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product must also be of US-origin.

The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded the Regional Economic Partnership at the Port of Bellingham (Port) a $300,000 economic development strategic reserve fund grant to assist VMC in building its new bus assembly facility, according to a 2021 company press release. The Port said in a press release at the time, “The economic development grant for VMC contributes to over $22 million dollars in investments in land acquisition, capital construction, and the creation of 20 living wage clean technology jobs at the Ferndale location, with plans for expansion.”

Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) received $8,862,951 in federal grants from the Department of Transportation in 2022 to be used to replace diesel buses with electric ones. At the time, WTA officials said they expected 12 of WTA’s 62 fixed route buses would be electric after receiving the new buses in 2024. WTA also said their goal is to convert to 100% zero emission vehicles no later than 2040.

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