Remember Integrity Manufacturing? It was a metal fabrication company that had a partnership with electric vehicle maker ZAP to build a new assembly plant in Franklin, Ky. The deal had clearly been having issues over the past couple of months, as Integrity Manufacturing told the local news that a key investor had pulled out of the factory project. Well, it appears that the company has drawn its last breath.
The Courier Journal, a local newspaper, reported on Friday that Integrity Manufacturing has officially closed its doors; the factory was locked and the parking lot deserted last week. Louisville’s Business First noted that the company had several lawsuits filed against it and that there were calls for its assets to be seized. Both stories say anonymous company employees encountered outside of the factory said that the company ran out of money and that production has ceased.
So, that sounds like the final blow to the electric vehicle manufacturing deal in Kentucky that was supposed to bring 4,000 green jobs to the state and was being touted by Kentucky governor Steve Beshear. Beshear said the plant deal would include $48 million in tax incentives for Integrity Manufacturing, and that the 4,000 jobs would have wages averaging around $20 an hour. Beshear had also signed an executive order last year to allow the use of low-speed electric vehicles on Kentucky highways that had helped coax Integrity and Zap to plan the plant for Kentucky.
While companies all over are having troubles, the likely busted Kentucky deal is a lesson for politicians that are increasingly pointing to green job projects for political aims. First, it’s surprising that the governor’s administration didn’t more closely investigate the backgrounds of the companies. Zap has a long history of promising actions through press releases and delivering very little (see the Wired story on this). And Integrity must have been showing signs of financial struggles for months. Bottom line: if you’re using green job promises as part of your political platform, for your own success, you should work harder to make sure they deliver.