Last year ambitious commercial EV builder Smith Electric Vehicles filed for bankruptcy as their ambitions ran up against high costs and low interest. Rather than disappear into the annals of failed businesses though, Smith Electric was saved by a cash injection from a Chinese battery supplier.
Now it’s China to the rescue again, reports Green Car Congress, as Smith Electric has signed a deal with FDG Electric Vehicles to start a new joint venture building a new series of commercial EVs built to fulfill a multitude of tasks. FDG will give Smith exclusive rights to produce its electric van, panel van, minibus, and cab/chassis designs in the U.S., a value of approximately $30 million, as well as injecting $15 million in cash. Smith will contribute its customer and manufacturing base in America, as well as some of its exclusive EV technology.
Last year Smith received a $42 million cash injection from battery maker Sinopoly, and with this latest deal I think it’s fair to assert that Smith Electric Vehicles is more a Chinese venture than American at this point. It’s short-range electric trucks and vans just never caught on despite numerous high-profile deals, but the market for commercial electric vehicles remains as ripe as ever. If this new joint venture could tap into America’s need for efficient and low-cost electric delivery vehicles, it could reap billions of dollars in business.
I guess that’s why Smith keeps getting bailed out?