VIVIAN, LA (KSLA) – A recently resurrected Ark-La-Tex boat making company announced a new partnership with a California firm to build electric vehicles and create hundreds of jobs.
Caddo Manufacturing in Vivian, Louisiana announced its partnership with Epic Wakeboats out of San Diego, to make all-electric boats, ATV's and cars. And Friday (7/16/10) morning, the general public got its first look at those vehicles.
Epic CEO Chris Anthony gave us a demonstration ride by using his prototype ATV to literally climb a cement wall. It's fair to say this wasn't your typical test drive of an all-terrain vehicle.
REPORTER: "Getting down is the hard part?
REPORTER: "Okay, how do you get down?"
That's when the ATV suddenly dropped to the ground from a 60-degree angle.
That vehicle is called the 'Amp.' Its sleek counterpart is called the 'Torq.' Both are all-electric, battery powered vehicles which go into production this fall at Caddo Manufacturing headquarters. The Amp will cost 22-thousand dollars, while the Torq will cost 35-grand."
Then there's Epic's all-electric sport boat. It's the first of its kind according to Epic. That may explain the cost which will set back the buyer 150-thousand dollars. Most pre-orders for all the vehicles are coming from clients overseas.
So why make them all here in Vivian? "We came here, we found great infrastructure, found great roads, got a port right down the street, great ITM and most of all great people," explained Anthony.
There's an immediate need for 200-employees, and nearly 500-positions altogether, with another 15-hundred indirect jobs that could be created in north Caddo Parish, according to some estimates.
Louisiana State Senator Lydia Jackson represents north Caddo Parish and told us, "To create 500-jobs at any point would be a huge win for this community. But, in these economic times this one's a home run!"
Those new employees can't arrive too soon for the 40 or so employees already here. Longtime employee Tommy Oswalt explained, "We need some help right now to get what orders we have. And then they're going to bring their orders in too."
People interesting in working at Caddo Manufacturing in Vivian are urged to stop by the plant and apply starting Monday, July 19th. It's located at: 680 Pardue Street.