Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Electric trucks will be manufactured in the Bronx

Here's a story from last week's Bronx Press.
By Brendan McHugh 

The Bronx is getting electric.

Smith Electric Vehicles Corp, a leader in zero-emission, all-electric commercial vehicles, is bringing their business to the Bronx.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined state and city officials, as well as representatives of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, to announce that electric truck manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles will soon open a new state of the art electric truck manufacturing facility at the former Port Morris lamp warehouse at 275 Locust Avenue. Smith Electric Vehicles hopes to create more than 100 local “green” jobs.

Expected to create more than 100 new jobs, the announcement was also about unveiling a new incentive program for electric vehicles in New York State. Purchasing zero-emission trucks will now come with a $20,000 rebate from the Feds for each new truck. The program is designed to improve air quality and the environment.

Smith will lease a 90,000 square foot building near Hunts Point in the South Bronx and make investments in renovations, equipment, training and other project costs. A package of state and city incentives valued at over $6 million, including $3.4 million in Excelsior tax credit benefits from Empire State Development, and $1.7 million in tax exemptions approved by the New York City Industrial Development Agency, is being provided to augment the company’s private investment.

"Creating over 100 new jobs in the South Bronx is a victory for the local community and a clear sign that New York is rapidly attracting innovative opportunities to grow our economy," Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

Jump below for the full story.

Smith Electric vehicles operate in major urban centers, including New York City where companies such as PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division, Duane Reade, Coca Cola, and Down East Seafood have purchased and currently operate Smith Electric vehicles.

Touted as a move that will move New York up to the same rank as California in pushing for environmental activism, the state’s Department of Transportation committed $10 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding for the initial year of a new plug in all-electric vehicle buyer subsidy program to attract clean vehicle manufacturers and encourage the purchase of any eligible zero-emission vehicle in New York State.

Once program development is completed next spring, these federal funds will be made available to the purchasers of any qualified and eligible all-electric vehicle over 10,000 pounds regardless of manufacturer. New York State intends to make this program available for five years in order to encourage mass adoption and allow for strategic fleet conversion throughout the state.

Bryan Hansel, CEO and chairman of Smith Electric Vehicles, said his company is excited to get a foot into New York.

"Governor Cuomo’s leadership, combined with the close collaboration amongst the state, city, and local authorities has underscored our confidence in the New York business environment and allowed us to expand our commitment to building a sustainable and profitable commercial EV (electric vehicle) industry.”

Smith will renovate and equip the former Murray Feiss building in the South Bronx for its manufacturing assembly, service and sales facility. Beginning in 2012, the company will manufacture the Newton™, a zero-emission all-electric commercial vehicle that delivers a market-leading range, a payload of more than 16,000 pounds and an average annual operating cost that is one-third to one-half that of conventional diesel vehicles.

"This project is a win-win for the Bronx and the entire state, and continues to show not only our commitment to bringing new jobs to the Bronx but to growing the green economy here in our borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said. “Smith Electric will not only bring more than 100 new jobs to the Bronx, they will manufacture a ‘green’ product that will reduce emissions in our City and contribute to a greater quality of life not only for borough residents, but for people all over the region.”

Bronx County has the highest rate of asthma in the state according to the city’s health department.

By replacing the average diesel truck with a zero emission alternative, more than 26 tons of greenhouse gasses are offset each year per vehicle, along with 2,228 gallons of fuel saved annually. With this New York State plan providing vouchers for at least 450 vehicles in the first year, an estimated 11,700 tons of greenhouse gases will be reduced and about 1 million gallons of diesel fuel will be saved.

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