Smith Electric Vehicles Corp., a provider of all-electric commercial vehicles, announced that the company will expand its U.S. operations by adding a manufacturing facility in New York State, creating up to 100 new direct local jobs. Smith will manufacture the zero-emissions Newton, its all-electric medium-duty vehicle with a range of up to 150 miles, at the new facility beginning in 2012. A package of city and state incentives of about $11 million will augment Smith’s private investment.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the development of a federally-funded multiyear commercial electric vehicle buyer incentive program to accelerate adoption of commercial EVs and allow for strategic fleet conversion throughout New York State. The program, with an expected run of five years, has been tailored to help companies in New York State convert portions of their fleets as a result of the ability to plan with vouchers available over multiple years.
The New York State Department of Transportation has committed $10 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding for the first year, which will be offered in the form of vouchers of up to $20,000 per vehicle. The program will be managed by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and will offer voucher incentives to the purchasers of any qualified all-electric vehicle more than 10,000 pounds GVW, regardless of manufacturer. The Smith Newton qualifies for this program.
“This expansion reflects an important step in executing Smith’s localized assembly, sales and service strategy,” says Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer and chairman of Smith. “Our approach creates jobs, provides Smith customers with more localized support and significantly reduces the costs associated with shipping completed vehicles to our customers. We applaud the governor’s leadership and that of the numerous state and local officials who have come together to support a program that encourages fleets to accelerate their conversion from diesel to electric.”
“New York has shown tremendous leadership at the borough, city and state level in paving the way for commercial fleet electrification,” says Sam Ori, director of policy for the Electrification Coalition, a nonpartisan not-for-profit group that promotes deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale. “This multiyear commercial EV incentive program is a strong example of the state’s commitment to accelerate deployment of this technology, which is critical for reducing U.S. oil dependence and enhancing long-term national and economic security.”
“Coca-Cola is proud to partner with Smith Electric Vehicles in making our delivery fleet more efficient,” says Steven Saltzgiver, director of fleet operations for Coca-Cola Refreshments. “Smith’s presence in New York City, coupled with the state’s incentive program, will help us accelerate conversion in New York as we continue to build a more efficient and environmentally-friendly Coke fleet.”
The new facility – Smith’s second U.S. manufacturing, sales and service center – will not affect production or job levels at Smith’s headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. The first Newton vehicles are planned for production in New York in the second half of 2012.