Smith Electric Vehicles to Open Manufacturing Plant in Chicago

Smith Electric Vehicles Corp., a maker of battery-powered commercial trucks, will build a factory in Chicago.

The company’s decision was influenced by the city’s $15 million voucher program to encourage companies to switch their fleets from diesel to all-electric vehicles, according to a statement today from the office of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Chicago will be Smith’s third U.S. location.

Smith expects to announce the location of the plant “when the incentive and development packages tied to the site are complete,” the Kansas City, Missouri-based company said in the statement. A message left for Katie Morgan, a spokeswoman at Pinkston Group representing Smith, wasn’t immediately returned.

Smith says its vehicles have lower operating costs than diesel-powered trucks. Its customers include Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and FedEx Corp.