President Barack Obama isn’t hiding his support for electric vehicles one bit, with the nation’s leader heading to Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday to visit one of a growing number of electric vehicle startups. Obama will be visiting Smith Electric Vehicles, a small firm specializing in building battery-powered commercial vehicles and the recipient of a $32 million grant from the DOE.
Obama has been backing greater electrification of the automobile since his appointment to the White House but lately he has shifted his focus to pure electric vehicles like those built by Smith Electric Vehicles. The company was originally granted only $10 million but this was later raised to $32 million, a sign of the growing support within the Obama administration for a zero-emissions future.
The trucks being built by Smith Electric Vehicles have a payload of more than 16,000 pounds, can travel up to 50 mph and can cover a range of more than 100 miles on a single charge. A full recharge will take about six to eight hours.
On Thursday the president will be given a tour of Smith Electric Vehicles’ facilities and later present a speech on the economy and the role manufacturers play in the green movement.
Many more startups, just like Smith Electric Vehicles, will be receiving similar grants as a further $6 billion is to be spent on electric vehicle research and infrastructure. This is on top of the $2.4 billion already handed out to automakers, startups and battery companies last August.