A former Toyota manager has formed a new company that will take on the task of completing an electric car manufacturing plant in Franklin that was recently derailed due to financing problems.
Gary Dodd has formed ZAP Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky and plans to move forward with production of the ZAP (zero air pollution) electric vehicles, a project originally launched by Shepherdsville-based Integrity Manufacturing. Integrity announced plans last summer to build an $84 million electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Franklin that would employ up to 4,000 people, but encountered problems securing financing for the project when the economy began to flounder.
Integrity Automotive President and CEO Randall Waldman has sold his interest in the company to Dodd, who has been working with Waldman as a consultant on the ZAP project. Dodd, who was a general manager for Toyota for 12 years and owned an auto parts supply business for another 12 years, plans to continue the pursuit of a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The future of the project depends on getting the green light for the $160 million DOE loan.
If the loan gains approval, Dodd has said the completion of the manufacturing plant will take approximately four months. Once the first phase of construction is complete, the plant could produce 15 cars per day.
“We can build a plant here rather quickly and expand the plant as the market evolves,” Dodd told The Franklin Favorite. “We’re still talking ultimately of having 1 million s.f. under roof, 4,000 employees and three shifts, depending on what the market dictates. I still firmly believe there is a market for electric vehicles.”
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development has estimated that the ZMMK facility would provide up to 8,615 direct, indirect and induced jobs in addition to $40 million in annual state and local tax revenue.