Kansas City, Missouri – U.S.-based electric company Smith Electric Vehicles will receive US$32 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) toward the production of all-electric, zero-emissions commercial trucks. The funding increases an initial DOE grant of $10 million awarded in August of 2009.

The grant will be used to help offset future vehicle development costs and provide incentives for customers to participate in a commercial electric vehicle demonstration program. The program will gather data on vehicles placed in service in different regions of the country and in a broad range of applications. Participating customers will receive a subsidy from the program for allowing their vehicles to be part of the demonstration fleet.

Smith’s assembly plant in Kansas City employs approximately 50 people and is expected to more than double that by the end of the year. In February, the company announced plans to expand to up to 20 regional assembly plants across the U.S.

Smith began production of the Smith Newton at the Kansas City plant in October 2009. It is the world’s largest battery-electric-powered truck, with a top speed of up to 80 km/h, a range in excess of 160 km on a charge, and a payload of over 7,257 kg. It is the first all-electric commercial truck to achieve new vehicle emissions certification in California.

Smith is a privately-held company owned by private investors and Tanfield Group, the British parent company of the Smith U.K. division, a manufacturer of battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s. Smith U.S. recently tendered an offer to buy the U.K. division from Tanfield, which would create a global company for commercial electric vehicles.

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