Smith Electric Vehicles is planning to open an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility in Chicago, beginning hiring efforts immediately while awaiting the completion of incentive and development packages tied to its assembly plant site before revealing its location.

The move follows on the heels of a $15 million fleet incentive program launched by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to help companies as well as individuals replace traditional diesel-powered trucks with EVs.

The program’s initial $15 million is funded by resources from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) program and will provide vouchers to assist companies in reducing the costs of converting their vehicles to electric, CDOT noted, with the city also considering additional incentives such as preferential loading zones and decreased registration costs to complement the voucher program.

The agency added that fleets can stack the State of Illinois’ Alternative Fuel Vehicle and EV Charging Station Rebates on top of the CDOT incentive program.

Chicago will be Smith’s third location in the U.S., joining its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., and a manufacturing facility in New York City.

 “A mass urban deployment of commercial electric vehicles is an important next step in catalyzing mainstream adoption,” noted Bryan Hansel, Smith’s CEO. “Chicago’s location, commitment to adoption in municipal fleets, concentration of commercial vehicles, talented workforce and importance to the global business community make it a perfect choice to grow our company and this industry. The leadership being shown with the CDOT voucher program is a prime example of how Chicago is creating the template for a new energy city.”