Smith Electric Vehicles Corp. (Smith) recently announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Wanxiang Group to develop, manufacture and commercialize all-electric school buses and commercial vehicles for multiple industries in China.
The agreement includes a $25 million equity investment in Smith by Wanxiang and up to a $75 million investment in a joint venture between Smith and Wanxiang. The new vehicles will combine Wanxiang’s electric vehicle component technologies with Smith’s proprietary platform vehicle designs, including its Smith Drive and Smith Power systems. The vehicles will carry the Smith nameplate.
“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, CEO & chairman of Smith. “Wanxiang is one of China’s most respected companies and we look forward to a long, mutually beneficial relationship that advances the global commercial electric vehicle industry.”
“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,” said Pingyi Li, the executive director of Wanxiang EV Co. Ltd. “Working together, we see tremendous opportunity to serve this growing market and to leverage volume and cost synergies back into Smith’s global business. We are pleased to have them as our partner.”
Both the investment and the joint venture are subject to the execution of definitive agreements and receipt of regulatory and other third party approvals.