Gov. Inslee with Vicinity Motor Corps executives and elected officials from Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham celebrating the grand opening of Vicinity's new factory in Ferndale,...

Gov. Inslee with Vicinity Motor Corps executives and elected officials from Whatcom County and the Port of Bellingham celebrating the grand opening of Vicinity's new factory in Ferndale, Washington.

Photo: Gov. Jay Inslee

Vicinity Motor Corp. (VMC), a North American supplier of commercial electric vehicles (EVs), celebrated the grand opening ceremony of its 100,000-square-foot campus in Ferndale, Washington.

With an annual assembly capacity of up to 850 low- and zero-emission buses and 6,250 Class 3 all-electric trucks, the new facility will immediately start cutting into VMC's order backlog of more than $150 million, which includes recent deals with Lafarge Canada, Transdev, and Pioneer Auto Group.

"Strong demand for our newest EV, the VMC 1200 electric commercial truck, is being driven by municipal, landscaping, transportation, shipping and logistics leaders that are seeking to reduce costs and carbon emissions while running more efficient fleets," said VMC Chief Executive Officer Will Trainer. "With light- and medium-duty EV inventories across North America projected to top one million by 2030 and six million by 2040, I'm excited to see our business firing on all cylinders, and am immensely proud of the work our team has put into designing and building a world-class manufacturing facility."

In addition to assembly and upfitting, the Ferndale campus will be used to conduct pre-delivery inspections, research and development, and general technical and servicing work. Current VMC models that can be assembled at the Ferndale campus include:

  • VMC 1200: Powered by cutting-edge Li-Ion battery technology that provides approximately 100 kWh of power, this ultra-quiet Class 3 electric truck can travel up to 150 miles/240 kilometers fully loaded on a single charge.
  • Vicinity Classic and Lightning: Running on electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), or clean-diesel powertrains, these mid-size buses are proving popular among transit operators seeking reliability at significantly lower price points than rival offerings, and superior durability than is offered by cut-away buses built on truck chassis.

While speaking at the grand opening, Washington Governor Jay Inslee applauded VMC for helping to diversify the state economy, supporting fleet operators' decarbonization initiatives, and providing new employment opportunities for families in the region. "Here in Washington, we're working on electrifying everything from ferries and trains to automobiles and buses," said Inslee. "Companies like Vicinity are making it possible for us to decarbonize the transportation sector and defeat the climate crisis, all while creating family-wage jobs for Washingtonians."

Less than 20 miles south of VMC's headquarters in Aldergrove, B.C., the campus will also improve access to nearby port, rail and truck shipping and receiving infrastructure. After being awarded a $300,000 economic development strategic reserve fund (SRF) grant to support VMC, the Port of Bellingham's Port Commission President Michael Shepard said: "Vicinity Motors is a terrific addition to Whatcom County's growing clean-tech economy. There is tremendous demand for electric buses in the United States and the sky is the limit for Vicinity. The Port is proud to be able to help another Canadian company expand into the US market while creating family-wage jobs for Whatcom County residents and accelerating the transition to a sustainable public transit system."

To support the immediate ramp up of operations at Ferndale, VMC recently supplemented a $30-million credit facility with the Royal Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada (EDC) with a further $9-million working capital credit facility with EDC.

"By completing key hires and fully funding our new operations with non-dilutive debt financing, we're in a prime position to scale quickly and accelerate our sales push across North America," said John LaGourgue, VMC's Vice President of Corporate Development. "It's a huge and fast-growing market, and we're ready to help our customers hit their near- and long-term sustainability targets with best-in-class products, while striving to deliver strong and enduring value to our shareholders."

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