Smith Electric to assemble zero-emissions trucks in North America

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Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp. announced Monday, March, 2, its plan to assemble and market all-electric zero-emissions commercial vehicles in North America. SEV U.S. Corp says it initially will focus its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based route delivery fleets.

SEV U.S. Corp. – a Delaware corporation temporarily headquartered in Overland Park, Kan. – says it already has received a strong expression of interest from fleet operators, and as a result, the company is building a highly scalable assembly operation and supply chain to serve this emerging market. The company says it soon will announce a site for its production facility and will begin production using chassis from multiple vehicle manufacturers.

“We are targeting our zero-emissions trucks for companies that operate in urban areas and are seeking ways to deliver their goods and services in an environmentally sensitive manner,” says Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of SEV U.S. Corp. “These vehicles will not only help companies reduce their truck fleet emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports, but will also lower operation and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle.”

Through its U.K. partner, the Tanfield Group Plc, SEV U.S. Corp says it is working with Ford Motor Co. to electrify the Ford Transit Connect as a BEV (battery-electric vehicle) light-duty van scheduled for production in 2010.

“Our collaboration with SEV U.S. Corp will result in the first battery-electric vehicle in Ford’s North American electrification strategy,” says Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of product development. “We know a growing number of our fleet clients have expressed interest in electrification as a sustainable mobility solution. Offering a family of electrified vehicles is a next logical step for us in our product portfolio.”

SEV U.S. Corp is a privately held company and is owned by U.S. investors and The Tanfield Group Plc., which also is the parent company of Smith Electric Vehicles, a manufacturer of zero-emissions battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s. Smith says it has produced the Newton truck in Europe for more than three years and has sold vehicles to major fleet operators in sectors such as mail and parcel delivery, logistics, retail, highway maintenance and airports.

“Smith Electric Vehicles’ zero-emissions vans and trucks are proven products that have a long history of reliability in Europe,” Hansel says. “We are bringing Smith’s proprietary know-how to the U.S. to integrate electric powertrains, lithium-ion battery packs and control systems into commercial truck chassis envelopes that meet the specific requirements of the North American fleet market.”

SEV U.S. Corp says its first zero-emissions truck model will be the Smith Newton – the world’s largest battery-electric-powered truck that can be fully recharged in six to eight hours. It has a top speed of up to 50 mph, a range on one battery charge in excess of 100 miles and a payload of 7,392 to 16,280 pounds. Other specifications include a 120 kw induction motor and gross vehicle weight ratings of 16,535, 23,148 or 26,455 pounds.

In addition to its partnership agreement with Ford on the Transit Connect, SEV U.S. Corp says it will expand its zero-emissions product line to include other van and light truck models based on demand.