The Tesla Roadster sportscar, a stunning state-of-the-art all-electric vehicle, will soon have another U.S. competitor, built right here in Spokane, Washington.
The new vehicle, called the Qiantu (chee-AHN-too) K50, is already being built in China, by CH Auto, where about a thousand have been sold.
Now, a U.S. company, Mullen Technologies, has signed a letter of intent for construction of a 1.3 million- square foot manufacturing center on Spokane’s West Plains, near Spokane International Airport, to build the all-electric vehicle. It would be the first U.S. plant for the vehicle.
Todd Coleman is with the West Plains Airport Area Public Development Authority. He says local authorities worked together to offer incentives for the company to build here, rather than in California.
“The PDA would lease that land from the airport and would in turn issue revenue bonds, in order to raise the funds for building the facilities. We would build that facility and lease it back to Mullen for their operations,” Coleman said.
He says Spokane’s cost of living, as well as engineering degrees offered by local schools, helped convince the company to locate here as well.
The Qiantu K50 is an aluminum frame, carbon-fiber body, 2-seater sports coupe. Its all-electric power plant will propel it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds.
Coleman says the car's maximum speed is 125 miles an hour, with a range of 250 miles, and its price is competitive:
“I did see at the auto show that there were some quotes in the that range from $109,000-149,000, depending on the finishes in the car,” he said.
If that seems pricey, consider that the U.S.-built Tesla Roadster, also an electric vehicle, sells for about a $200,000 base price.
Coleman says the plant will initially hire 55 workers at startup, which is expected later this year. It may hire as many as 860 employees by 2026. The Mullen Company plans to bring research and development related to lithium batteries, which he says could increase the projected employment level to as high as 3,000.