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Tanfield Establishing Joint Venture in North America for Production of Smith Electric Vehicles

UK-based Tanfield Group, the parent of Smith Electric Vehicles, is forming a joint venture in North America with the newly-formed US-based Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation (SEVUS).

SEVUS plans to begin production of Smith electric vehicles during 2009. Smith Electric Vehicles had originally announced in 2007 (at EVS-23) that it would establish a major production facility in the US with the capacity to produce up to 10,000 electric trucks per year, from 2010. (Earlier post.)

In mid-2008, however, the company said that it was revising its planned expansion in the US. Rather than establish a major production facility in the US, Tanfield said that any expansion was now likely to be executed through a joint venture. (Earlier post.)

Tanfield will licence Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), brand and all existing sales and sales enquiries in North America to SEVUS, in exchange for a 49% equity stake in SEV US Corp and per-vehicle royalties. As a majority (51%)-owned US company, SEV US will be eligible for US government funding and other benefits.

North America represents potentially the largest single market for our commercial electric vehicles. The establishment of Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation will provide Tanfield with a fast, efficient and economically prudent route to market.

The additional volumes which are anticipated to be generated by SEV US Corp will further strengthen the supply chain, while offering additional cost savings via shared procurement and shared supplier development.

—Darren Kell, CEO of The Tanfield Group Plc


Bob Uppendown

Interesting timing... coming a week or two before Ford announce who will be their partner for their 2010 electric van. Will it be Smith? Presumably more likely now that the existence of Smith US Corp offers Ford the opportunity to patriotically name a US partner.

Of course the timing might be nothing to do with that at all. It could be to tie in with Smith's own major presence at the Work Trucks Show in Chicago next month, where they are sponsoring the Green Trucks zone.

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