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Electric vehicles to be built at KCI Airport

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Aviation Department announced at a news conference today that Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp. will assemble zero-emission all-electric trucks in a reverted portion of the American Airlines overhaul base. SEV U.S. Corp. will use 80,000 square feet of a reverted 280,000-square-foot building formerly used for maintenance and overhaul of aircraft engines, and plans to employ 120 workers by 2010.

Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp has developed a highly scalable assembly operation and supply chain to serve the emerging market for urban fleet operators seeking to deliver their goods and services in an environmentally sensitive manner.

“This marks another major milestone in the City’s ongoing strategy to enhance Kansas City International Airport’s status as a major regional center for manufacturing, intermodal shipping and commercial development,” City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen said. “The types of green collar jobs this development brings are consistent with the city’s goal to promote sustainability and position the city as an attractive option for the emerging eco-friendly industry.”

Last year, site preparation work began on Phase I of the 800-acre KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre, a multi-use development that is being managed by Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. When completed, Phase I will offer infrastructure to support approximately seven buildings offering nearly 2.7 million square feet of commercial space suitable for intermodal distribution and logistics as well as light manufacturing. Phase II calls for extension of infrastructure to a contiguous 400 acres with frontage along two runways at KCI, making this area well suited for the development of air cargo facilities, manufacturing and assembly and commercial distribution space.

“Four years ago, the Aviation Department embarked on an ambitious plan to replace open fields and empty spaces with light industry and intermodal freight-forwarding facilities to attract greater numbers of well-paying jobs to the area,” said Mark VanLoh, director of the Aviation Department. “We have invested nearly $40 million for non-aeronautical economic development activity and we are seeing that investment pay off in the form of new partners such as Smith Electric Vehicles. We proudly welcome them to KCI.”

In 2007, the Aviation Department acquired the Ambassador Building (formerly the world headquarters of Farmland Industries), which offers 260,000 square feet of Class A office space located on a 23-acre campus adjacent to KCI. Smith Electric Vehicles will occupy 10,000 square feet of office space in the Ambassador Building, which is also home to Wire Rope Corp. of America, which moved its headquarters to Kansas City from St. Joseph, Mo.

KCI contributes $5.5 billion to the area economy annually and provides more than 60,000 jobs.

The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general tax fund revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system. Visit for more information.

For more information, contact Joe McBride, Aviation Department, (816) 243-3164.

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