SCOOT­ING IN

Wooed by tax ex­emp­tion, plans for ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions, Na­tional Scooter Co. set to roll into Pflugerville

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO&STATE - By Kirk Laden­dorf

Na­tional Scooter Co., a year-old startup from Seat­tle, said Thurs­day it is mov­ing its head­quar­ters to Pflugerville, where it plans to build an assem­bly plant to pro­duce elec­tric and gaso­line-pow­ered scoot­ers and other ve­hi­cles.

The com­pany, which will move into a 10,000square-foot build­ing in the Spring­brook II Busi­ness Park, ex­pects to hire more than 100 em­ploy­ees within three years.

It plans to open its busi­ness op­er­a­tions by Aug. 1 and be­gin as­sem­bling scoot­ers and other ve­hi­cles by next spring. It also plans to open a re­tail store in the area, to be called Austin Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles.

CEO Greg James said the com­pany might ex­pand into a larger 60,000-square-foot plant at an­other lo­ca­tion in Pflugerville within 18 months.

The Austin area has been on a win­ning streak this year with cor­po­rate re­lo­ca­tions and ex­pan­sions. The list in­cludes Face­book Inc., which has opened an Austin devel­op­ment of­fice, and Hanger Or­tho­pe­dic Group Inc., which is mov­ing its head­quar­ters from Bethesda, Md., to Austin.

Na­tional Scooter will re­ceive $235,000 in in­cen­tives from the Pflugerville Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Corp. Un­der the terms of the in­cen­tives agree­ment, the com­pany must em­ploy at least 62 peo­ple within two years and op­er­ate in Pflugerville for five years.

The com­pany also re­ceived a triple free-port ex­emp­tion, which al­lows it to avoid pay­ing per­sonal prop­erty tax on scooter com­po­nents that are as­sem­bled and shipped out­side the area within 175 days. The triple free-port refers to an ex­emp­tion from city, county and school district taxes.

James said the ex­emp­tion was an im­por­tant fac­tor in the com­pany’s lo­ca­tion de­ci­sion. So were Austin En­ergy’s plans to be­gin in­stalling elec­tric ve­hi­cle bat­tery-charg­ing sta­tions through­out Austin in com­ing months.

“We wanted to come to a com­mu­nity that was al­ready sev­eral steps ahead of the game,” said James, who added that the in­vest­ment in the project could reach $4 mil­lion.

The com­pany said it im­ports ve­hi­cles from Tai­wan and China and sells them un­der the Na­tional and Twist and Go brands.

James said his com­pany aims to sell to ur­ban pro­fes­sion­als, stu­dents and oth­ers look­ing for low-cost, en­ergy-ef­fi­cient trans­porta­tion suit­able for short com­mutes.

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