Department of Energy grants $259 million to A123 Systems and Smith Electric for electric-vehicle developments

Smith Electric Vehicles

The Department of Energy has recently awarded two grants that are sure to be a catalyst in electric vehicle production and manufacturing. Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation and A123 Systems have announced today their receipt of two separate DOE grants in the amounts of $10 million and $249 million, respectively.

A123 SystemsSmith plans on using the money to invest in new equipment and accelerate hiring plans as they prepare to open a new production facility in Kansas City. Smith has quite a portfolio of commercial customers; a result of the government’s incentives to reduce the cost of commercial vehicles. AT&T, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Frito-Lay, Kansas City Power & Light, Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Staples are all among the first purchasers of the U.S. Smith Newton.

The A123 grant however was issued as part of the DOE’s Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. Under the terms of the grant, they are required to match the funds as they use them. A123’s plan is to create a completely American battery manufacturing industry by keeping all phases of the process from R&D to final assembly in the United States. The company also has a loan application pending with the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program.

-By Stephen Calogera