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    Electric Motor Maker Chooses Colorado

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    energynow

    by energynow

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    William Rankin is the CEO of UQM Technologies, a company that makes hybrid and electric vehicle motors. He tells Susan McGinnis about his company and why it located its assembly plant in Colorado. Rankin says UQM was originally called Unique Mobility, and it built all-electric vehicles in the late 1970s. The company began developing electric motors in the 1980s and evolved to produce electric propulsion systems for electric and hybrid vehicles. He joined the company in 1992 after 16 years at John Deere and helped it advance into manufacturing. Ritter says UQM remains based in Colorado despite being offered incentives to leave by several states, including New York and South Carolina. He says among the reasons it stayed in Colorado is that its employees are already there, and it's located in a high-tech corridor that runs from the Wyoming border to Colorado Springs. That gives the company access to a lot of high-tech talent and local manufacturing of items such as circuit boards that are used in its systems. Rankin says the company may be located in the best area for green jobs. He says there's a big push for solar panels and wind turbines. He says his company's technology is all based on software and power electronics that are located in the region. He says UQM is not located in Detroit because it's focused only on assembly, not base manufacturing. It does all the design work, sources parts from all over the world, does the assembly, testing, packing and shipping. UQM currently employs 78 people and plans to ramp up to about 300, Rankin says. The company received a $45 million grant under the 2009 stimulus act. In order to get that grant. It had to show a path toward employing thousands of people. UQM was also the only small company to receive a stimulus grant to make components for electric vehicles, and the only one in Colorado. But he says the stimulus money won't create those jobs, orders will create those jobs, a sentiment that Vice President Joe Biden echoed when he visited the plant to announce ...