The DOE grant will be used to help offset the company’s future vehicle development costs. The funding will also go toward Smith’s demonstration program, which 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 Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant and corporate office currently employs about 50 people, but it should reach more than 100 by the end of the year, Smith says.
In February, Smith announced plans to expand production to up to 20 regional assembly plants across the country, a move aimed at providing customers with local factory-based service and support. Smith will continue expansion in Kansas City at the company’s corporate headquarters staff, through its research and development group and the assembly plant team.
Smith vehicles feature lithium-ion batteries cell technology, power management and direct drivetrains.