Washington DC gets electric trucks from Kansas City

Talk about getting a plug in for your product.

Smith Electric, the maker of battery-powered trucks that’s opening a plant in Kansas City, signaled its entry into the U.S. market by delivering Smith Newton trucks Tuesday on Capitol Hill to some big-name customers: Kansas City Power & Light, Pacific Gas and Electric, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Frito-Lay, AT&T and Staples.

Missouri’s senior senator, Kit Bond, was on hand for the ceremony, along with Carol Browner, the former Environmental Protection Agency chief who’s now assistant to the president for energy and climate change, and Smith Electric chief executive Bryan Hansel.

“The next-generation electric vehicles Smith is producing demonstrate exactly the kind of technology we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end our dependence on foreign oil,” Bond said. “Missouri is a growing leader in exciting new battery technology, making it an ideal partner for all-electric vehicle manufacturing.”

Smith Electric Vehicles U.S., incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Kansas City, is licensing the no-emissions electric-vehicle technology from Smith Electric Vehicles in the United Kingdom. Smith Electric, founded in 1920, has been making electric vehicles for decades in Europe — initially so early morning milk deliveries would be quiet and not disturb customers’ sleep.

Smith Electric was bought in 2004 by the Tanfield Group, also based in the United Kingdom, which has been expanding Smith Electric into a global brand.

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