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Smith Electric Vehicles Shortlisted for UK £50M Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Program

Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) is one of a small group of van manufacturers to reach the second stage of the UK’s £50 million (US$76.5 million) Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Program (LCVPP). The scheme, funded by the Department for Transport and operated by Cenex (Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies), aims to jump-start sales of low-carbon vehicles for use in public sector fleets. (Earlier post.)

The government plans to use the majority of program funding in the initial phase on the procurement of lower-carbon vans. The Department for Transport says that its consultation and research suggests that development of such a model for use in the public sector fleets could have a significant wider market impact. It will also conduct smaller procurement of all-electric vans, a lower-carbon minibus, and potentially a small demonstration fleet of plug-in hybrid passenger cars.

Vans make up around 15% of road transport emissions in the UK, and their emissions are rising more than any other mode of road transport. That’s why we are committed to this new program to help kick-start the market. In the public sector there is considerable demand for vans, so we want to use our spending power to lead the way in developing lower carbon options that will appeal across the board.

—Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon

The program offers an initial £20 million (US$30.6 million) pot to pay the difference between a conventional diesel van and the electric or low carbon equivalent as an incentive for public sector organizations to purchase greener vehicles. The UK Government will unveil the list of successful suppliers within a few months, according to SEV. Funding will commence next year and run until 2011, with a further £30m promised if the initial phase is a success.

The public sector bodies taking part in the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Program are:

  • Environment Agency
  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • Metropolitan Police
  • Transport for London
  • Royal Mail
  • Government Car & Despatch Agency (GCDA)

CENEX has also announced that five local authority partnerships are to join the first phase of the procurement program:

  • Newcastle & Gateshead Consortium
  • Glasgow City Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Coventry Low Carbon Fleet Partnership

Smith Electric Vehicles, a division of the Tanfield Group, is the world’s largest manufacturer of road-going electric vans and trucks, and offers a range of electric commercial vehicles, including the Newton, the Faraday and the Edison. In April, SEV launched the Ampere, a new electric vehicle product, designed and developed in collaboration with Ford, based on the Transit Connect chassis for the light van sector. (Earlier post.)


Henry Gibson

Require that every electric vehicle have at least a small engine generator on board with some fuel to disarm the fears about limited range. Small engine generators that are seldom used can be operated at very high powers if so built. Some examples are the permanent magnet alternators that are coupled with inverters for portable power like the HONDA 1000is. ..HG..

Stan Wellaway

HG - I think you are totally missing the point about what Smith Electric Vehicles (and their peers) are doing. They have very deliberately identified and targeted the depot-based delivery fleet as the ideal market for EVs, because it is a market where the distance issue is not a problem. Worldwide there are literally tens of thousands of depot-based fleets (every local postal delivery fleet, for example).

These fleets operate known routes of known distance - generally well within the range of current EVs. EVs are ideally suited to the multiple-stop-start routine involved. There is no point adding an additional layer of expense and complexity by including a combustion engine (such hybrids are ideal of course for distance travel, but wholly unneccessary in these localised delivery fleets).

If you check out the Case Studies page at their website you will see numerous examples of fleets already using EVs in this way. Similarly at their main competitor

Two other UK manufacturers have recently muscled in on what they recognize as a proven concept.

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