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President Obama stopped by the factory of Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Thursday afternoon in Kansas City, Mo. to give a speech touting how investments from the stimulus package have helped to create jobs, speed economic recovery and spur growth in the clean energy sector.
During his speech the President, who was in town to campaign at a fundraiser for Missouri Democratic Senate Candidate Robin Carnahan, focused on green jobs and defended his administration’s economic policies. In particular he emphasized the success of investments made under the Recovery Act and said, “What is absolutely clear is we’re moving in the right direction.”
Obama pointed out that Smith has just hit an important milestone by hiring its 50th employee, and added, “I know you’re on the way to hire 50 more,” like other government-backed companies working on wind, solar, advanced battery and vehicle technologies.
Smith Electric Vehicles won a $10 million grant under the Department of Energy’s electric vehicle battery initiative last summer to develop and deploy up to 100 electric vehicles in Kansas City and Michigan, and the company scooped up another $22 million under the same program earlier this year.
Absent from Obama’s speech today was any mention of the energy bill now languishing in the Senate, in contrast to his speech at the government-backed factory site of solar startup Solyndra in May. In his Solyndra speech, Obama told the crowd that he would, “fight to pass comprehensive climate change legislation and get it done this year.”
Smith CEO Bryan Hansel told us in March that the company was planning on an IPO “sooner rather than later” and that Smith (in which the UK’s Tanfield Group holds a 49 percent stake) was on track to become, “a sustainable business without subsidies” by January 2011. According to Obama, Smith is “setting a model for what we need to be doing all across the country.”
Screen grab image courtesy of CNN
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