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Smith Electric Vehicles adding hundreds of jobs to Chicago with new factory

Kansas City based electric truck manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles is expanding again with a new electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Chicago, the company announced on Wednesday. The new manufacturing plant is expected to add hundreds of jobs in the Chicago area, and support electric delivery truck deployments in that region.

Smith Electric Vehicles manufactures medium size electric trucks, with payload capacity of as much as 8 tons, and an electric driving range of up to 150 miles. Commercial fleets around the world are beginning to adopt electric trucks. Commercial fleet owners are in a better position to reap operational cost savings because of lower “fuel” costs (electricity is a way cheaper fuel than diesel) and maintenance savings.

Smith’s decision to locate a facility in Chicago is influenced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’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.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), under the Mayor’s leadership, has announced a $15 million incentive program that will encourage companies and individuals to modernize their fleets and convert to electric 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. Chicago may add additional incentives such as preferential loading zones and decreased registration costs. The City’s incentive can be added to the State of Illinois’ Alternative Fuel Vehicle and EV Charging Station Rebates.
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