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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.



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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


short haul use (!)


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.


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?




The current pope used to have a Volkswagen Golf.
It was sold on Ebay.

It had a catholic converter.

Stan Wellaway

EV makers certainly are coming out of the woodwork. At last year's UK Commercial Vehicles Show - CV-2007 - there were two makers of electric vans/trucks -- Smith EV and Modec. This year there are eight! The show runs Tues-Thurs this week.

It looks like everyone has been watching how successful Smith have been in winning initial fleet orders, and all now want a slice of the action.


hybrid fan: this isn't a zero sum situation. If there is more demand for batteries then more money will be invested in battery factories.


Why don't Europeans drive electric? Because in France they are not available for sale in effect only to fleets. I live in France and recently asked about converting an old first generation fleet EV from NiCd to lithiums. It is forbidden. Obviously there is no chance of converting an ICE. I would love to replace our second car with a short range cheap EV. If an EV was available at anything approaching a reasonable price premium and format I would buy but the big lobbies here are very powerful. PSA and Renault run Paris and will not allow any competitor in.

Mike Thompson


By C. E. (Sandy) Thomas, Ph.D.*
National Hydrogen Association Annual Meeting
Sacramento, California, March 31, 2008

2. Key Findings
The major conclusions from these computer simulations are:
_ Greenhouse gas reductions: the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle is the only
option that can achieve the goal of reducing GHGs by 60% or more below
1990 levels in the transportation sector; the second-best option, cellulosic ethanol1
PHEVs, could at best achieve a 20% reduction, and even then not until 2090.
_ Urban air pollution: the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle is the only option
that would virtually eliminate urban air pollution from the transportation sector
by 2100; all other vehicle/fuel options including both gasoline and ethanol PHEVs
would produce essentially the same or greater urban air pollution as the existing
car fleet due to increased vehicle miles traveled.
_ Petroleum consumption: the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle is the only
option that could achieve energy “quasi-independence2,” reaching that
milestone by mid-century; the second-best option, ethanol PHEVs would still
consume over 5 million barrels oil per day by the end of the century.

And the major drawback with electric vehicles.

6.3. Marginal Grid Mix. The source of grid electricity to charge PHEVs, BPEVs and
to electrolyze water to make hydrogen is essential for calculating emissions.
Some analysts calculate greenhouse gases based on the average grid mix, but
this does not represent the reality of electric utility grid operation. For example,
if a utility generated 50% of its electricity from nuclear and 50% from coal, then
the GHGs for any new electrical load might be taken as the average of zero
(nuclear) and approximately 1,000 grams of CO2-equivalent/kWh from coalbased
generators, or 500 gCO2/kWh.
However, this does not mimic actual utility operation. To maximize profits, utilities
operate their lowest operating cost plants first, and only turn on plants with higher
operating costs to meet high demand. In the above example, since nuclear plants have
lower operating costs than coal plants, the nuclear plants are run as baseload. The output
from the coal plant would then be increased to accommodate any new electrical load.
The net impact of adding a new load to the grid would generate 1,000 gCO2/kWh, or
twice the average GHG emissions in this example, unless the utility demand dipped
below 50% of maximum capacity during the early morning hours, in which case the
nuclear plant might have to be turned up slightly for a few hours at night.
C. E. Thomas Page 8 of 20 3/28/2008
This marginal grid mix effect is
illustrated in Figure 8, showing a
hypothetical US utility grid over a
24-hour period. The electrical
generators are layered in order of
increasing marginal operating
costs. Hydro and renewables have
the lowest operating cost, and are
therefore run as baseload6,
followed by nuclear, then coal, and
finally the natural gas generators
that are used for peaking.
The red lines represent possible
utility load profiles over 24 hours.
Adding any new load will require
this utility to increase the output
from coal-based generators at
night, and from natural gas
generators during the peak daytime
period. If vehicles are
charged from the grid, greenhouse
gases will increase based primarily
on coal plants, particularly if the
vehicles are charged at night.
To simulate vehicle charging, the
model calculates the fraction of
grid generators that will have to
be turned on using a PHEV
charging profile (Figure 9)
developed by the Electric Power
Research Institute [10]. Most
(74%) PHEV charging is offpeak
at night in the EPRI model.
The resulting estimates of the
current marginal grid mix compared to the average grid mixes for the US and California
are summarized in Table 5. In both cases, there is no credit for renewables and nuclear,
the two zero GHG sources. Our program estimates that 61.7% of electricity to charge
vehicles in California will come from coal. For comparison, Mark Delucchi of UC-Davis
estimates that 51.7% of electricity for charging car batteries in the West would come
from coal and 15.2% from oil, or total of 66.9% high GHG emitting electricity [1


Full report:

John Taylor

@ Mike

Your source, the National Hydrogen Association, has it's results skewed in it's own favor.

Pretending Electric cars are dirty because there are coal fired power plants is a dirty bit of disinformation.

The new power plants to deal with a new electric car grid load should be solar, wind, wave, hydro and geothermal, not coal.

Lets not fall for the outrageous hype of Hydrogen hogwash.


Mike: That report was an April fools joke (whether he intended it to be or not). The guy that wrote it is either a hack or a fool.


No Joke:
Whatever happens with these electric cars DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING CLIMATE SCIENCE PAPER:

The Figure 2. graph of 600 million year temperature/CO2 has got to be a fraud (we hope!)

Stan Wellaway

Several posts here that are nothing to do with the story - which is Smith's launch of (yet more) new EVs.

I attended Day Two of the CV-2008 Show. That Ampere model is sweet. Very sweet. Its range and performance are plenty good enough for many depot-based fleets.

And it sounds like Smith have changed their plans regarding which vehicle will lead its sales effort in the US. With Ford's encouragement it looks like Smith will supply all-electric versions of the whole of Ford's F-series. From the F250 to the F650.


If they could do quick charge the whole RTD fleet of local shuttles could be EV here. Now they are F350 type 12 passenger vans that run gasoline or diesel. Lots of stop and go driving, but replacing the fleet would be costly.

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