New York Taking Steps To Become Epicenter Of EV Development

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Smith Electric Vehicles intends to establish an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility in New York, supported by a series of incentives from the state. The governor also unveiled a federally funded, multi-year EV buyer incentive program.

According to the governor's office, Smith will lease the 90,000 square-foot Murray Feiss building in the South Bronx to house its manufacturing assembly, service and sales operations. State and city incentives totaling more than $6 million – including $3.4 million in Excelsior tax credit benefits from Empire State Development and $1.7 million in tax exemptions approved by the New York City Industrial Development Agency – will complement the company's private investment.

Beginning in 2012, the company will manufacture the Newton, an all-electric commercial vehicle featuring a payload of more than 16,000 pounds and an average annual operating cost estimated to be one-third to one-half that of conventional diesel vehicles, Smith says.

The EV buyer incentive program that Cuomo announced will be largely financed by $10 million from the New York State Department of Transportation through federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding. The program is aimed at subsidizing plug-in, all-electric vehicles purchases and, in turn, attracting vehicle manufacturers to the state. Program development is expected to be completed in the spring of 2012.

The funds, which will be offered in the form of vouchers of up to $20,000 per vehicle, will be made available to the purchasers of any qualified and eligible all-electric vehicle over 10,000 pounds, regardless of manufacturer. The state intends to make the program available for five years ‘in order to encourage mass adoption and allow for strategic fleet conversion throughout New York State,’ the governor's office says.

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