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Smith Electric Vehicles and Ford Introduce the Smith Ampere EV; Will Collaborate on Future EV Projects

Sev
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.

Comments

tonychilling

two points:
1) too bad the Ampere is only offered to fleet operators,
I would buy one and do a van conversion.
2) GM has the Volt, Now ford has the Ampere. Chrysler its your turn to honor another scientist....Georg Simon Ohm

dixie juan

Enova wins agane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cervus

GM Volt, Ford Ampere, Dodge Faraday?

The EVs are starting to come out of the woodwork, at least for focused applications. Exactly what I'd expect to happen with $4 gas/$4.50 diesel.

GreenPlease

Why not cover up the rear wheel wells? That should improve aerodynamics, no? Every little bit helps....

IMO, the logical progression of EVs into the mainstream is:

1. Light commercial vehicles
2. Intercity transit (taxis)
3. Consumer vehicles

Henrik

This is green car news when it is best. Ford is lucky to have Smith as a partner. It makes them look a whole lot greener. I am sure the Ampere cost a lot so this is why they don’t do an EV taxi and a van version yet. Once the batteries from Valence drop in price the Taxi versions will come. Valance partnership with Smith should enable Valance to increase their production volume beyond 1 million kWh per year in 2 to 3 years which is needed for Valance to be able to support the launch of mass produced consumer EVs or PHEVs. Great news!

Matthew

Exactly what I'd expect to happen with $4 gas/$4.50 diesel.

Same here...but haven't fuel prices been above this level in Europe for decades now? Why haven't we seen these developments before? Is it just that Europeans are so used to taking it up the @$$ that it no longer hurts? Or that they know any alternative solution will be taxed to hell and gone as well, so why bother?

andrew rose

Matthew ,
Do you really have to ask !

Harvey D

Good news for ground vehicles electrification. Isn't the Dodge Sprinter one step ahead? High power, high energy density batteries will be mass produced and much cheaper soon....

Matthew...most Europeans fought high fuel cost with compact and mini gas or diesel vehicles. At 35-40 mpg instead of 17-20 mpg they can afford to pay $8/gal instead of $4/gal for fuel. Another side benefit, they pollute about 1/2 to 1/3 as much per vehicle and use less space in cities.

Hybrid fan

One downside (right now) to electric cars is the battery needs to be at least 4 times larger than in a hybrid. Since all current battery production is already spoken for, that means every electric auto produced means at least 4 hybrids that are unavailable for sale.

Hopefully the battery shortage will not last long.

mahonj

This van is for short hall use - it has a range of 100 miles.
The reason Europeans stay with ICEs is for range - and as Harvey pointed out, they just use more smaller and more economical ICEs.

Nonetheless, electric seems to be the way of the future.

So one might define a "D" prize - "D for delivery"

You define a course - various stop/start sections, accelerate to 20 / 30 / 40/ 50 mph, an emergency stop etc etc.
You define a load - say 1 ton (or have classes).

You could specify a van, and perhaps a battery - and then let the contest begin!

The sponsoring company would provide a van + battery to each team for a nominal fee (say $5K ) and this would be refunded if the attempt was of a good enough standard.

The winner would be the one with the greatest range.

It's not like going into space, but it might prove fruitful.

You could have another class for Taxis, and another for private cars - say an electric Focus challenge.

The problem is that cars are hard to build nicely, so it is handy if you get a standard chassis as a starting point.

mahonj

short haul use (!)

lensovet

well well, looks like ford has a rather timely arrangement with smith electric. not that i blame them.
regardless, it's great to hear that 2008-9 will finally be the year of the electric vehicle. phoenix, tesla, smith will all be delivering their vehicles and we'll be able to see how the different battery technologies and chemistries play out, as well as general consumer reactions. can't wait.

Wells

If the little van had big windows around the back it would look like the Pope-mobile. Maybe install some windows and get a midget to dress up in a Pope suit and sit in the back?

Wells

:^)

mahonj

The current pope used to have a Volkswagen Golf.
It was sold on Ebay.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4518939.stm

It had a catholic converter.

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