Bloomberg News

Smith Targets Small Customers With New York Electric Truck Plant

November 16, 2011

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Smith Electric Vehicles Corp., the maker of battery-powered commercial vehicles that’s planning to go public, is building a factory in New York to target small and mid-size customers.

The company will build and maintain electric trucks at a $5 million facility that will be complete in mid-2012, Chief Executive Officer Bryan Hansel said today in an interview.

By establishing operations in the Bronx, Smith Electric will be able to service the vehicles it sells in the New York area, and may make it easier to market its battery-powered trucks to businesses that don’t have their own mechanics, Hansel said.

“By being local, we create an awareness and really make it viable for small and medium businesses to make this choice,” he said. “It’s a great product for this physical environment.”

The facility will initially have one production line that can produce as many as 100 trucks a month with one shift, and may be expanded to include a second line. It will be Smith Electric’s second U.S. facility, after a plant at its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Producing trucks on the East Coast will also reduce transportation costs, Hansel said.

Smith Electric’s current customers typically have large fleets and their own mechanics to maintain them, Hansel said. Coca-Cola Co., FedEx Corp. and the U.S. military have purchased Smith trucks, according to a company filing.

The company makes two models, the Edison and the Newton. The Newton, the larger of the two, can carry 16,200 pounds (7,300 kilograms) of cargo and can travel as far as 150 miles (240 kilometers) a charge, according to the company’s website.

Smith Electric filed Nov. 10 to raise as much as $125 million through an initial public offering. The company will use the proceeds to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes, according to a filing.

--Editors: Will Wade, Randall Hackley

To contact the reporters on this story: Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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