The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (Smith) a $10 million grant toward the production of all-electric, zero emissions commercial trucks for a nationwide demonstration project to validate performance across a range of climates and locations.
The grant will help to hasten vehicle purchasing and deployment among Smith’s customers as the government provides incentives to reduce the cost of commercial vehicles. The trucks will be purchased by and distributed to customers nationwide, including AT&T, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Frito-Lay, Kansas City Power & Light, Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Staples, which were presented with the keys to the first U.S. Smith Newtons last week in an event on the National Mall.
To produce its new electric vehicle fleet, Smith has already announced the imminent opening of a new production facility in Kansas City. The grant will contribute toward new equipment and accelerate hiring plans for “green collar” manufacturing employees
Today’s announcement came at an event held at Kansas City Power & Light’s vehicle maintenance facility. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced the grant on behalf of the administration. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II and Mike Chesser, chairman, Kansas City Power & Light, were also in attendance.
“This project is an endorsement of the electric commercial truck industry and begins to provide the resources needed to quickly increase production volume, which in turn will lower costs, increase demand and create more jobs,” said Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith. “We have the potential today for tens of thousands of electric trucks in the fleets of corporate America. This demonstration fleet will allow major corporations to evaluate the technology at greatly reduced cost, which we expect will rapidly accelerate the shift from trial phase to volume orders.
“Today the Obama Administration demonstrated its commitment to this fast-emerging industry and to green fleet vehicle technologies that will define the future of American automotive manufacturing. We are honored to be among the DOE grant recipients and commend the Administration for its leadership and shared vision that we can create a viable, sustainable industry and deliver green fleets today,” continued Hansel.
Smith vehicles feature the latest in Lithium-ion battery cell technology, power management and direct drivetrains. The grant program supports demonstration fleets of two Smith vehicles: the Smith Newton and a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) version of the Ford Transit Connect, which is built through a partnership with Ford Motor Company.
The Smith Newton is fuel-emissions-free, runs without noise or vibration, and stores electric energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking. It has a top speed of 50 mph, a range on one battery charge in excess of 100 miles and a payload of over 16,000 pounds. The Newton is also the first commercial all-electric truck to achieve new vehicle emissions certification in California.
The Transit Connect BEV is a new urban vehicle that can go up to 100 miles on a single charge of its all-electric power system, carries payloads up to 1,600 pounds and has a top speed of 70 mph. The vehicle requires no shifting and is faster from zero to 30 than its traditionally-powered equivalent.
Smith, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a privately held company owned by Private Investors Management and The Tanfield Group Plc, based in the United Kingdom. Tanfield is the parent company of Smith Electric Vehicles in the U.K., the leading manufacturer of zero-emissions battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s.
Smith Electric Vehicles 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.
About Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation: Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (Smith) (www.sev-us.com), a Delaware corporation, is an all-electric zero-emissions commercial truck manufacturer. The company licenses its proprietary technology from Smith Electric Vehicles in the U.K., the world’s largest manufacturer and industry leader of commercial electric vehicles. Smith is a privately held company owned by Private Investors Management, and the Tanfield Group Plc, based in the United Kingdom. Smith produces the Smith Newton – the world’s largest battery-electric-powered truck.
About Tanfield Group Plc: The Tanfield Group Plc is the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of road-going commercial electric vehicles and aerial work platforms. Tanfield is headquartered in Washington, Tyne & Wear, with operations in Europe, Scandinavia, North America, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific and Africa. It has two main divisions:
Smith Electric Vehicles was founded in 1920 and acquired by Tanfield in October 2004. Following its acquisition, Smith Electric Vehicles is developing into a world leader in new technology electric vans and trucks with greatly enhanced performance, speed and range capabilities. This makes them attractive for all fleet operators in large towns, cities and closed industrial environments. For the first time, these fleet operators have economically viable, zero emission alternatives to using diesel vans and trucks. Smith Electric Vehicles has an unrivalled UK-wide service and support network, which already maintains over 5,000 vehicles for major fleet operators. www.smithelectricvehicles.com
Powered Access contains two of the world’s most established aerial work platform brands, UpRight Powered Access and Snorkel International. UpRight is the UK’s biggest manufacturer of self-propelled aerial work platforms (also known as “cherry-pickers”, “mobile elevating work platforms”, “aerial lifts”, etc). UpRight has assembly facilities in the UK and USA, with products sold through a strong network of over 200 independent, full-service distributors across Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. Snorkel, acquired in August 2007, has significant manufacturing capabilities along with strong sales and distribution, in North America and Australia. Tanfield has successfully extended its powered access product range and is now one of only three “full line” aerial lift manufacturers to have a significant global footprint in both the North America and EMEA regions, in what is a $7bn market. www.upright.com / www.snorkellift.com