|The US version of the Newton.|
At EVS-23, Smith Electric Vehicles the world’s largest manufacturer of road-going electric vans and trucks, introduced the Newton electric truck to the US. It also announced that it will establish a major production facility in the US with the capacity to produce up to 10,000 electric trucks per year, from 2010. (The expected output for the UK and Europe by 2010 is 5,000 vehicles.)
The Newton is the world’s largest high-performance electric truck, weighing in with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of more than 24,000 lbs. A Zebra battery pack and a 120 kilowatt drive system from Enova propel the vehicle up to its top speed of 50mph.
Fully charged, the vehicle has a range of up to 150 miles, while the regenerative braking system returns power to the batteries every time the vehicle slows or stops.
Automotive manufacturers are telling us that the technology for mass-produced electric cars is some years away. But the larger sized commercial vehicle—and the truck in particular—is perfectly suited to electric technology that is available today.
There are millions of commercial vehicles in North America that work in urban areas, within defined low mileage zones or routes. All of these machines, from light postal vehicles to heavier duty distribution trucks, can be replaced with our new technology electric vehicles. And these congested, densely populated urban areas are exactly where vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions can make the biggest improvement to air quality.—Kevin Harkin, Sales Director for Smith Electric Vehicles
The vehicle has a payload capacity of up to 15,800 lbs and is available in US truck Classes 5 through 7.
Smith Electric launched its 2nd generation electric vehicles, Edison and Newton, earlier this year in Europe and is on course to ship 250 units in 2007. Customers already signed up in the UK include DHL, Starbucks, the Royal Mail, TK Maxx, and CEVA Logistics, plus many household names yet to be announced. The Newton is designed for urban, intra-city operations, including home shopping delivery; 3PL logistics; post and parcel distribution; and municipal duties.
Smith is not trying to sell its electric trucks to everybody—it is targeting customers with a disciplined drive cycle, a disciplined route, and that are depot-based to allow for the overnight charging.
Electric vehicles offer a next-generation automotive industry for America. Ten thousand vehicles a year is a substantial commitment, but we believe that is just the start. Our initial research shows that there is an addressable market in the USA of around 200,000 units a year for our commercial electric vehicles.—Darren Kell, CEO of The Tanfield Group Plc, the company that owns Smith Electric
Another UK-based electric truck manufacturer—Modec—also officially introduced its product to the US market at the event. The Modec electric truck supports a 100-mile range at speeds up to 50 mph with a payload of up to 4,500 lbs.
The Modec also uses a Zebra Sodium Nickel Chloride battery pack, although both it and Smith are working with lithium-ion for the future.