Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Smith Electric Vehicles to Build Assembly Plant in The Bronx

Smith Electric Vehicles announced that it will build a 100,000 square foot electric truck assembly plant in the old Murray Feiss building at Walnut Avenue and East 133 Street, in the South Bronx. The factory will assemble up to 100 trucks a month and create 100 permanent jobs. Construction of the Hunts Point facility will create approximately 100 construction jobs.

Electric trucks are environmentally friendly, are nearly silent in operation and produce no emissions. Smith Electric Vehicles, based in Kansas City, Missouri, manufactures battery-powered box trucks and has already found customers in New York City, including the Duane Reade pharmacy chain, Coca-Cola and Frito-Lay. 

Duane Reade’s fleet of 60 delivery vehicles circulates primarily in city limits, making it well-suited for battery power. Michael Fowles, director of distribution at Duane Reade, said the fleet will eventually be all electric. 

Charles Hayward, the pharmacy chain’s fleet manager, echoed Mr. Fowles. “We have 6,000 to 7,000 miles of road time with the electrics, and they perform as well or better than the diesel trucks,” he said.

Truck prices vary depending on battery pack size and other considerations. The basic cab and chassis, made by Avia and imported from the Czech Republic, costs $75,000, but battery packs ranging from 40 to 120 kilowatt-hours add another $25,000 to $75,000 to the total cost. Final assembly of the trucks will occur in the Bronx.

Working with the bus fabricator Trans Tech of Warwick, New York, Smith will also be producing electric school buses. The buses will be assembled on the same electric Newton chassis as the trucks. Trans Tech is presently looking for a suitable location in the Bronx to build an assembly facility for the buses.