Smith Electric Vehicles will open an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Chicago, creating hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and boosting the already rapidly growing battery and electric vehicle sector in the city.
Smith’s decision to locate a facility in Chicago is influenced by the Mayor’s innovative voucher system created to accelerate the conversion from diesel to zero-emission, all-electric commercial vehicles, the large number of fleets interested in vehicle electrification, and the development incentives made available to Smith.
“I’m proud to welcome another growing company with a great mission to Chicago. Soon hundreds of Chicagoans will be able to put their skills to use providing businesses worldwide with high-quality, zero-emission, American-made vehicles,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Smith Electric Vehicles is an innovative company in a forward-looking, essential industry that is a central part of Chicago’s economic future.”
Smith is a manufacturer of all-electric commercial vehicles, which are zero-emission and less expensive to own and operate when compared with traditional diesel trucks. The company produces trucks for multiple industries, including food & beverage, utility, telecommunications, retail, grocery, parcel and postal delivery, school transportation, military and government. Smith’s customers include many of the world’s largest fleet operators, including PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division, FedEx, Staples, TNT, Sainsbury’s, Coca-Cola, DHL, and the U.S. Military.
Chicago will be Smith’s third location in the United States, joining their headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and a manufacturing facility in New York City.
Additionally, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), under the Mayor’s leadership, has announced a comprehensive, $15 million incentive program that will encourage companies and individuals to modernize their fleets and convert to electric vehicles. The first of its kind in the US, this plan rewards fleets on an increasing scale for replacing their most diesel-consuming vehicles.
The program’s initial $15M is funded by resources from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program and will provide vouchers to assist companies in reducing the costs of converting their vehicles to electric.
In addition to the announcement of the manufacturing facility, Smith provided an update on two of its global fleet customers. FedEx Express has initiated the deployment of 100 Smith vehicles in the U.S., adding to the electric vehicles already in service throughout the company’s global fleet. Coca-Cola’s pilot deployment of Smith Electric Vehicles has been successful. The company plans to deploy additional electric vehicles in 2013.