Zero was awarded $1,812,123 by the California Energy Commission to quadruple its manufacturing capacity. The company agreed to match the grant from the state with money of its own raising the total funding for expansion to more than $3.64 million.
“This investment in Zero Motorcycles will help to put cleaner vehicles on the road, reduce petroleum use, improve air quality and create jobs in California,” Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman stated in a recent press release.
Expanding production is the immediate goal, according to Jay Friedland, Zero’s vice president of strategy and sustainability.
“We are going to grow our manufacturing facility from 1,000 bikes per year to 4,000 per year, so quadrupling in size,” Friedland said.
The grant was announced Oct. 10, and Zero is determining exactly how the expansion will change its operations.
“Our goal is to grow inside Scotts Valley,” Friedland said.
Zero plans to automate more of its assembly line and add more storage space for incoming materials and outgoing bikes.
Friedland said the company is considering using offsite warehousing or building higher racks in its existing facility, which is on Technology Circle in Scotts Valley.
The company, which employs about 80 workers, will also likely hire about a dozen new employees.
The recent grant is the second Zero has received from the California Energy Commission, which awarded $20 million this year through the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118 in Oct. 2007. The program is funded by a small surcharge on vehicle and boating registration and smog check fees to encourage the development and use of new technology and alternative and renewable fuels.
Tesla, a Fremont-based electric vehicle company, was awarded $10 million by the commission to develop its all-electric SUV crossover, Tesla Model X.
Zero has built 2,000 motorcycles since it was founded in 2006. The company recently announced its 2013 line of motorcycles, which includes both off-road and street bikes with longer battery life and sleeker design.
Last weekend, Zero was honored as Business of the Year by the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, an award Friedland was excited to receive.
“Scotts Valley is a really perfect place for us,” he said. “It’s just a great base near Silicon Valley for highly qualified, great workers.”
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