Boating Business

Twin Vee Cats Opening North Carolina Factory to Build Electric Boats

Forza X1, Twin Vee cats, new boat factory

The Forza line of electrically powered boats will be built at the new factory.

A Florida boat maker is planning a US$10.5m production facility in North Carolina for its new electric boat division.

Twin Vee PowerCats and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the formation of Forza X1. The subsidiary is developing electrically powered recreational boats at the new facility.

The plant, located in Western North Carolina at Marion, will employ 170 workers at an average annual wage of $51,000 compared to the current average wage in McDowell County of $39,000.

Forza X1, folding bulwarks

The new electrically powered boat follows the popular design trend of having fold-out bulwarks.

The Right Spot

The location was selected after a state panel approved an incentive package worth up to $1.4m in cash payments over 12 years if Forza X1 meets job-creation and investment milestones.

Twin Vee’s home base in Fort Pierce, Florida, is a 7.5-acre facility with buildings totaling 80,000 sq. ft. (7,432.24 sq. m) and approximately 75 employees, according to its website. The company says it has produced more than 8,000 boats sold worldwide in its 26-year history.

During a press conference yesterday with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Twin Vee PowerCats, Co. announced that Forza X1, Inc., Twin Vee's wholly-owned EV subsidiary, would obtain incentives from the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the McDowell County local government to establish its electric-boat manufacturing operations in McDowell County, North Carolina.

Forza factory, new North Carolina boat builder

A rendering of the new factory that is projected to have as many as 170 employees.

Jim Leffew, President and CEO of Forza X1, led the efforts with state and local entities, which resulted in selecting the site in McDowell County.

Local Support

Within the next 30 days, the North Carolina Department of Commerce will finalize the incentive package in a Community Economic Development Agreement (CEDA). The CEDA, among other things, will formally create the Job Development Investment Grant Program along with the investment and performance criteria Forza X1 must follow in the coming years to receive the grant funding.

Forza X1 expects to invest more than $10.5 million in land, buildings and fixtures, infrastructure and machinery and equipment for the new facility by the end of 2025. After Forza X1 ramps up its manufacturing process, the company anticipates creating as many as 170 new jobs.

The CEDA will require that each job created pay a minimum average annual salary of $51,047, above the current average wage in McDowell County of $39,071. Using a formula based upon fifty percent (50%) of state personal income tax withholdings paid by Forza X1 for net new jobs created at the manufacturing plant, North Carolina's Job Development Investment Grant Program will authorize the potential reimbursement to Forza X1 of up to $1,367,100, spread over 12 years.

Forza factory, new North Carolina boat builder

Forza X1 CEO/president Jim Leffew (left) and North Carolina governor Roy Cooper.

Additional incentives include the opportunity to obtain job talent through the state's community college system with training tailored to Forza X1's staffing needs. Forza X1 intends to partner with the North Carolina Community College System and its Customized Training Program to design a customized plan to meet Forza X1's specific workforce development requirements.

McDowell County is also offering support to Forza X1 by conducting several essential surveys required before construction begins, such as the environmental site assessment, boundary survey, and a wetlands report. It is expected McDowell County will also provide infrastructure support for the manufacturing facility, including a paved entrance road, rough grading and clearing of land, preliminary civil-engineering services for site layout, utilities, waived water and sewer connection fees and expedited permitting.

"We want to thank Governor Cooper and his administration. We've received tremendous support on this incentive grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the McDowell County local government. Our new manufacturing facility in McDowell County will be designed as a dedicated lean manufacturing space incorporating closed-molded composite boat building technologies and electric engine assembly processes," states Leffew. "We're excited to get started and appreciate our partnership with North Carolina."