In the United States, Smith Electric Vehicles—headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri—is a relatively obscure commercial electric truck builder that’s only been around for a few years. But in Europe, Smith Electric Vehicles UK has been building electric vehicles for more than 80 years. In fact, they are currently the largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles in the world.

So it’s no surprise that a company with such a track record was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy earlier this year to receive a $32 million dollar grant (as in never has to be paid back) to speed the deployment of demonstration commercial electric vehicles around the United States. And on Thursday (tomorrow), President Obama will be visiting the Smith Electric Vehicles plant to tout the benefits of plug-ins in our effort to wean ourselves off oil.