Sometimes, you just don't want anyone to know what's happening. That's how Smith Electric Vehicles must have felt about stopping production of its all-electric delivery trucks in Kansas City, MO late last year. There was no press release issued and even the local newspaper, The Kansas City Star, didn't find out about the shutdown until a new quarterly filing was just submitted to the US Department of Energy.

The DOE gets reports from Smith because the federal agency gave the company a $32-million grant in 2010. That money was used to build 439 of a planned 510 demonstration vehicles (PDF) that are being used by entities around the country and feed information back to the DOE via the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We placed a phone call to Smith Electric for more information on the production suspension, but it went unanswered. The DOE sent an email statement to the Star that said the, "DOE continues to work with Smith Electric on the path forward for the remaining vehicle production." All vehicles were supposed to be delivered by the end of August, 2013.

Started in the UK, Smith's arm in the US has a history of promising good news but then not delivering. The company was going to file a $125 million-IPO (but didn't). The company also had plans to build trucks in Chicago, but that never happened, either. Same deal with a proposed production facility in New York.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      EVnerdGene
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Hey, they're giving away money in the US for green stuff; let's go. Hey, now they're giving away money in the UK for green stuff; let's go back home. 'many a truth is said in jest' quoting some English bloke
      danfred311
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Might be a hint, Ian Wright. Make this instead before it's too late: zev.dk/design/Speedster.jpg
      Technoir
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Sad ending :( I hope someone else picks up where they left.
      imoore
      • 20 Hours Ago
      That's a real shame. I wanted to see their school bus.
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Just like their battery supplier, A123. I lost a lot of money in that stock when they went belly up.
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Smith Electric Vehicles is alive and operating, even if we are not building trucks for a while. We took a strategic decision to stop money-losing production which resulted in layoffs of assembly line workers, but the plant and office in Kansas City, Mo. and the North of England remain staffed with about 140 engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and support people. We are working very hard in the meantime to focus on taking cost out of our supplier base and to re-open production in the Summer.
      Levine Levine
      • 20 Hours Ago
      Another 'Green" vehicle scam where the CEOs got big bucks courtesy the of taxpayers and sucker investors. Dpes any one remember Frisker? or Aptera?
      paulwesterberg
      • 20 Hours Ago
      It's too bad they couldn't make a go of it. The trucking industry is pretty conservative when it comes to adopting new technology - even if it could cut operating costs. But I think that wrightspeed's new local transport truck designs could really shake up the industry. http://wrightspeed.com
      Marco Polo
      • 20 Hours Ago
      This is really bad new ! Smith Electric was a fine old UK manufacturer of electric vehicles for over 100 years. Neglected by the UK Labour government, the move to the US was supposed to be the start of a whole new chapter of expansion. There is nothing wrong with the trucks or the companies technology. I've owned two UK built Smith trucks for 4 years, and can attest to the excellence of the vehicles.
        GreenDriver
        • 20 Hours Ago
        @Marco Polo
        I agree, very bad news. Curious that there was no press release. For what purpose have you been using your Smith trucks? I'm curious how payload weight effects their range.
          Marco Polo
          • 20 Hours Ago
          @GreenDriver
          @ GreenDriver We bought two for our farming estate in the UK. This was part of my project to make the estate energy self-sufficient , relying on purely bio-mass generated power. The range of the trucks is heavily affected by the weight and the size of the load. Although both have a set delivery route, well within the vehicles minimum range. We adapted one of the vehicles to use as a horse float, so the weight is fairly minimal and speed reduced. Surprisingly, the range of my LERR is far less affected by towing, and off-road 4WD use. I've towed two horses, 160 miles, in the rain at highway speed, and the last 20 miles through rough roads little more than farm tracks, with little more than a 20% loss of range. Little known and unsung, is Hino's range of excellent diesel/hybrid trucks.