By: Christian Okolski
Back on April 10th, this blog covered the state of the electric truck market in the United States. One of the most notable parts of that post detailed how Smith Electric Vehicles, the Country’s leading manufacturer of all-electric trucks and vans, had suspended production last year. Regardless, Smith’s CEO, Bryan Hansel, went on the record to promise that his company was merely in a transitional phase and would have its Kansas City factory up and running again. Well it turns out Mr. Hansel may have been right.
Flash forward to this Monday, and the Kansas City Business Journal is reporting that Smith has secured a $42 million investment from Sinopoloy Battery Ltd., a lithium-ion battery maker based in Hong Kong. The two companies have already closed on the first round of $2 million, while the remaining funding will be released in two additional phases as both companies meet unspecified milestones over the next few months. This detail ensures that Smith is motivated to spend the money wisely and fulfill the business plans it likely wooed Sinopoly’s investment with.
With this funding, Smith intends to refine its production process and resume making commercial electric vehicles as soon as this summer, which aligns with comments Hansel made to Fleet Owner Magazine in April. In addition, the deal between the two companies stipulates that Sinopoly will become Smith’s exclusive supplier of lithium-ion batteries and preferred supplier of electric vehicle components. Therefore, Sinopoloy will benefit from any success and sales growth that Smith may experience in the future.
Smith has been a leader of the emerging electric truck market, and if it did close its doors for good, it would have certainly been a setback to the electric vehicle industry. Instead, the future looks promising for Smith and its ability to continue putting electric trucks on U.S. roads. Maybe someday, the electric truck factories that Smith has planned to build in both New York City and Chicago will become a reality after all.