Smith Electric to Open Chicago Factory

Smith Electric Vehicles and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Smith has plans to open a manufacturing facility in the city, the company said in a statement.

Chicago will be the electric vehicle manufacturer’s third U.S. location, joining its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and a production facility in New York City. Smith builds electric-powered walk-in vans targeted to commercial users.

Chicago was chosen in part because of a voucher system the city offers businesses to assist with conversion to electric vehicles and development incentives for Smith, the company said in the statement.

The Chicago Department of Transportation is targeting a $15 million incentive program at businesses to encourage conversion of diesel-powered vehicles to electric power. Under the plan, companies receive vouchers to reduce the costs of conversions.

Currently considering locations for the facility, Smith said it will begin hiring when incentive and development packages tied to the site are complete. The company said it expects to create “hundreds of jobs” that will be directly or indirectly related to the manufacture of its vans.

Smith lists FedEx and Coca-Cola as customers. FedEx Express is currently deploying 100 Smith vans in the United States. Coca-Cola has completed a pilot program and plans to add more electric vehicles to its fleet next year, Smith said.

© 2012, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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