Smith Electric Vehicles and Ford Introduce the Smith Ampere EV; Will Collaborate on Future EV Projects
|The new Ampere van and Faraday II truck.|
The Tanfield Group’s Smith Electric Vehicles has launched the Smith Ampere, a new electric vehicle product aimed at the light van sector. Ampere, which utilizes the Ford Transit Connect chassis and will be jointly branded Smith and Ford, was designed and developed by Tanfield in collaboration with Ford.
Ford has already announced that it will launch the Transit Connect in North America and recently unveiled a taxi cab variant. (Earlier post.) Tanfield will concurrently launch the Ampere for sale in the USA. Ford and Smith Electric Vehicles officially unveiled Ampere on their respective stands at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, UK, today.
Tanfield has reached a broad agreement with Ford to collaborate on future zero emission vehicle projects and is investigating further opportunities in sales, marketing and product development both in Europe and North America.
Ampere is aimed at urban operators using large fleets of light vans in sectors such as postal and courier, utilities and telecommunications. It has a gross vehicle weight of 2,340 kg, with payload capacity of up to 800 kg.
Ampere has a range in excess of 100 miles on one battery charge and a top speed of up to 70 mph. It is powered by a 50 kW electric motor and a 40 kWh iron-phosphate lithium-ion battery pack. Smith has a supply agreement for Li-ion packs with Valence Technology. (Earlier post.) This is a new drive train and battery and was developed specifically for Ampere.
Smith also today launched the Faraday mark II, specifically aimed at North America. Ford will supply a range of chassis for Faraday commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 13,000 kg. Tanfield will commence manufacture of the first of these new products for North America in the second half of 2008.
Ford recently launched a larger version of Transit with a 4,600 kg Gross Vehicle Weight to accommodate certain applications that require greater payload than a sub-3,500 kg vehicle will allow. As a result of Tanfield’s collaboration with Ford Europe and engineering resource Ford provided, Smith is already offering a 4,600 kg Edison based on this new chassis.
The Commercial Vehicle Show also marks the launch of a minibus Edison derivative with 15 seats. The minibus is in the final stages of pre-production and customer deliveries will commence later this calendar year. The minibus is also powered by the new, under-slung lithium-ion battery pack. Full European production of Ampere and the Edison minibus will begin later in 2008.