The old General Motors plant near Newport isn’t exactly booming these days — but it isn’t exactly quiet, either. It seems that Fisker Automotive, the startup electric carmaker that bought the facility for $20 million last July, is finally beginning to gear up at Boxwood Road, where it plans to build a second line of plug-in hybrid cars.
Among those working there is a crew from Battaglia Electric, an electrical and mechanical union contractor out of New Castle. The Plumbers and Pipefitters union, Local #74, has three workers toiling in the building, according to union rep Tony Papili.
Reached at his office, Battaglia president Gene Battaglia would not comment on the work his company is doing for Fisker.
Papili said there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about how much of the maintenance work will be awarded to union (or even Delaware-based) contractors. “There are too many unknowns,” he said. “Putting a couple guys in there doing pre-maintenance work and checking some of the systems doesn’t mean that we’re going to have a big workforce in there.”
According to plans, which company executives last updated publicly in August, Fisker expected plant cleanup efforts to last through the fall and winter of last year, with new equipment installations beginning this month or next.
Hiring of production workers will not begin until early next year. The company plans to begin building its Project Nina sedan — which carries a target pricetage of $47,000 — in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Fisker’s first product, the Karma, a luxury sports sedan costing around $100,000, is launching in March.