By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Echo Automotive Inc. plans to expand its local research and development operations here, almost doubling its staff by 2015.
“We are excited to see Echo’s growth and investment in Anderson and the Flagship Enterprise Center,” said Charles Staley, president and CEO of Anderson’s Flagship Enterprise Center.
Located at 2701 Enterprise Drive, Echo Automotive plans to invest $3.6 million in a 40,000-square-foot distribution, research and development facility at the Flagship. The company’s planned investment includes renovation costs, the installation of automobile lifts, a thermal chamber and a full dynamomoter test facility.
Echo Automotive is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., and develops and manufactures a hybrid system for automotive fleets.
The company employs about 15 people in Anderson and says it will create up to 10 new jobs in the next two years with its expansion.
Jason Plotke, president, chairman and co-founder of Echo Automotive, said the company was originally drawn to Anderson because of its automotive history and workforce.
“Indiana has a long-standing legacy of electrification and that tradition has continued,” said Plotke. “Anderson has a specific set of skills that is not common in other areas of the country.”
He said the city has become “the heart of an automotive electrification corridor” where leading-edge technologies and veteran industry talent is unrivaled.
Echo Automotive started at the Flagship in April 2012 and, Staley said, last fall, they began expanding into the west half of the Flagship’s A-2 facility. He said the company has a “fairly aggressive schedule” to add additional space for engineers and to build its manufacturing capacity to accommodate its production schedule.
“We are excited about being a part of the community and not only adding jobs, but we are adding good jobs,” Plotke said.
Echo Automotive is currently searching for engineers and CAD designers posting several of the open positions on the company’s website www.echoautomotive.com.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has offered Echo Automotive up to $100,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $30,000 in training grants based on the company's proposed expansion plans. The credits would not be available until after the company had filled the new positions.
Plotke said his company is working closely with the city of Anderson to secure a tax abatement and create even more jobs in the near future.
Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.
A closer look Echo Automotive Inc. is a development stage company and the creator of EchoDrive, a cost-reduction solution that can convert fleet vehicles into highly fuel-efficient hybrids and plug-in hybrids. EchoDrive, which is installed in new and existing vehicles, is used to substantially reduce a vehicle's fuel consumption. Source: www.echoautomotive.com