Smith Electric Vehicles Out of Cash – Production Suspended


Smith Electric Lineup

Smith Electric Lineup

In late 2013, Smith Electric Vehicles of the Kansas City, Missouri area ran out of cash.  Smith Electric quietly halted production.  So quietly in fact that we’re just now hearing of the shutdown.

Big Smith

Big Smith

Smith Electric Vehicles, a prominent maker of electric commercial trucks, just couldn’t quite figure out how to profit off its trucks, despite being the recipient of government money.

As the Kansas City Star reports:

“The move was disclosed in a report for the last quarter of 2013 filed with the U.S. Department of Energy, which in 2010 awarded the company a $32 million grant. Smith Electric said it stopped delivery of its Generation 2 trucks and vans because of the “company’s tight cash flow situation.”

The company didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Energy Department in an email said it is working to ensure that a demonstration project that is supposed to have 510 Smith Electric vehicles placed in fleets across the country will be successfully concluded.”

“DOE continues to work with Smith Electric on the path forward for the remaining vehicle production,” the federal agency said Thursday in the email.”

It seems as though the DOE will work to ensure that the promised number of electric truck get produced.  Beyond that, it seems likely to us that Smith Electric Vehicles will formally shut its doors.  439 of the promised 510 electric trucks have been produced and delivered to customers.

The Kansas City Star covered Smith Electric Vehicles extensively dating back to 2009 when the truck maker arrived in Kansas City:

“Smith Electric, which would eventually have about 100 employees, arrived in Kansas City in 2009, setting up offices and a production facility near Kansas City International Airport. It marketed its electric vehicles to businesses that make deliveries and snagged some notable customers, including Coca-Cola, Staples and Frito-Lay.”

“Along the way it got plenty of attention.”

“But the initial glow dimmed, and signs of problems began to emerge. The company bowed out of an initial public offering in 2012 and scaled back production. It has also left hanging well-publicized plans for two more assembly plants.”

The slide down the slope had been in the making for some time now.  Smith Electric was often accused of over promising and under delivering.  There had been several high profile reports of BIG orders received by Smith Electric Vehicles.  Turns out these reports originated with Smith Electric and most were not confirmed order.  In one instance, Smith Electric claimed it had received 30 truck orders.  Turns out those orders went to a different truck maker who undercut Smith’s bid.

Anyways, it seems Smith Electric’s days are numbered.  Without an influx of cash, the truck maker will struggle to stay afloat.  We suspect an official announcement to come soon in regards to what the future may hold for Smith Electric,

Source: Kansas City Star

Categories: General


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6 Comments on "Smith Electric Vehicles Out of Cash – Production Suspended"

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This is sad to hear. I’d think more local delivery fleets would get a clue and save massively on fuel and maintenance costs by going electric.

Tesla Motors claimed to be interested in building trucks.

Seems like an opportunity to electrify other transportation sectors…

Tesla would be great but they are more than 3 years out from jumping into that market unfortunately.

They could buy them.
In such financial trouble, SEV should not be too expensive.
Their first aquisition would make headlines for TM.
Their backing could allay doubts of potential customers.

Of course, with the Gigafactory issue, it is unlikely they would even consider it.

With the Chinese company, BYD, already putting electric buses on the road, this seems to me a natural acquisition.

What a shame. It still seems like the future for local delivery is still something like Smith’s concept. Certainly an area we can reduce emissions.Pick the battery to suit the daily miles delivery. The article says they over promised and under delivered. We all know that it’s the 3 “T’s” of Temperature, Terrain, and Technique that determined variable range in electric or and petroleum propulsion vehicle. Temperature more so in Ev’s.
I have sold Chevrolet vehicles for over 15 years and drive a Volt. Chevrolet will usually under promise and over deliver in areas like trailering and payload.
Perhaps Smith didn’t market properly or offer a reasonable value?