COLUMBUS, OHIO – Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (SEV U.S. Corp), a Delaware corporation headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., announced its partnership with Clean Fuels Ohio headquartered in Columbus.

Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide non-profit organization, launched its Ohio Electric Drive Initiative designed to bring more than $10 million in federal funds to Ohio through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). SEV U.S. Corp and the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research are participating in the Ohio Electric Drive Initiative as major program partners.

"We're involved in this initiative to help our customers with fleet operations in Ohio take full advantage of the benefits the ARRA federal stimulus plan has to offer for the adoption of zero-emission all-electric commercial vehicles," said Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of SEV U.S. Corp. "With funding anticipated at 50 percent of the incremental vehicle purchase price, this program is key to making electric vehicles a viable option for fleet operators. We congratulate Clean Fuels Ohio for taking the lead in pulling together the resources needed for these funding applications."

"As a manufacturer of road-ready all-electric commercial trucks, SEV U.S. Corp is critical to our Clean Cities grant writing program," said Sam Spofforth, executive director of Clean Fuels Ohio. "We must demonstrate a proven technology and demand for that technology. We believe SEV U.S. Corp helps satisfy both requirements."

The Ohio Electric Drive Initiative will apply for funds available through the Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program and Vehicle Electrification Projects. For more information, visit SEV U.S. Corp plans to participate in similar funding programs in California, Missouri, New York, and Texas.

SEV U.S. Corp will assemble all-electric zero-emission commercial vehicles in Kansas City beginning in the third quarter of 2009. The company will initially focus its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based predictable-route delivery fleets.

SEV U.S. Corp has already received a strong expression of interest from fleet operators. Canteen Vending Services, a national vending company and an operating division of Compass Group North America based in Charlotte N.C., has signed a letter of intent with SEV U.S. Corp to purchase some of the first zero-emission vehicles to roll off the assembly line. Frito-Lay North America, a division of PepsiCo that is headquartered in Plano, Texas, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., have also signed on as launch partners.

Through its U.K. partner, The Tanfield Group Plc, SEV U.S. Corp is also working with Ford Motor Company to electrify the Ford Transit Connect as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) light-duty van scheduled for production in 2010.

"These visionary companies will help take all-electric commercial vehicles to the next level by introducing this advanced technology to their fleet operations," noted Hansel. "This is the critical first phase of transforming the commercial transportation industry. We must do all we can to help them be successful."

As more truck fleets adopt the technology, Hansel projects it will drive advancements in battery technology, drive down manufacturing costs, and form the foundation of a U.S.-based supply chain that, over time will also significantly reduce the cost of commercial electric vehicles.

In addition to its partnership agreement with Ford on the Transit Connect, SEV U.S. Corp will expand its zero-emission product line to include other van and light truck models based on demand.