By Greentech Lead Team: Smith Electric Vehicles, a
manufacturer of electric vehicles, has signed a letter of intent with Wanxiang
Group, a global automotive parts manufacturer and supplier.
With this agreement, Smith looks forward to a long,
mutually beneficial relationship that advances the global commercial electric
“Wanxiang’s high quality precision manufacturing
capabilities and purchasing relationships bring significant value to our
business in our current stage of development,” said Bryan Hansel, chief
executive officer and chairman of Smith.
Wanxiang will make a $25 million equity investment in
A joint venture between Smith and Wanxiang will invest up to a $75 million to
develop, manufacture and commercialize all-electric school buses and commercial
vehicles for multiple industries in China.
Under the Smith brand, these vehicles will combine
Wanxiang’s EV technologies with Smith’s platform vehicle designs, including its
Smith Drive and Smith Power systems. Both the investment and the joint venture
are subject to the execution of definitive agreements and receipt of regulatory
and other third party approvals.
“Smith’s market leadership in the U.S. and Europe bring
valuable experience and technology to address the significant opportunity for
all-electric commercial vehicles in China. Working together, we see tremendous
opportunity to serve this growing market and to leverage volume and cost
synergies back into Smith’s global business,” said Pingyi Li, executive
director of Wanxiang EV.
Smith and Wanxiang signed a letter of intent at the
U.S.-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, in connection with a meeting
of business leaders from the U.S. and China and a state visit by Chinese Vice
President XI Jinping.
Recently, Smith announced its expansion of U.S.
operations by adding a manufacturing facility in New York State, creating up to
100 new direct local jobs. Smith will manufacture the zero-emission Newton, its
all-electric medium duty vehicle at the new facility beginning in 2012.