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Smith Electric Vehicles Launches Electric Minibus and Boom Lift at CV Operator Show

Smith Edison electric lift
The Smith Edison electric lift. Click to enlarge.

Smith Electric Vehicles introduced two new products at the CV Operator Show 2010, based on its award-winning Smith Edison van: an electric minibus, and an EV-mounted boom lift.

Minibus. The UK’s first 17-seat, electric minibus is now in production. Based on the Ford Transit chassis, the Smith Edison minibus has a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h) and a range of up to 80 miles (129 km). A full recharge takes 6-8 hours, or 3-4 hours with Smith’s new fast charging technology.

Smith utilizes an underslung battery design, so that the 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack does not impinge on the passenger area of the vehicle.

Designed for urban operations, the Edison minibus is targeted at applications such as airport passenger transfer, tourist attractions, city trips and closed campus travel on large commercial, military, education and industrial sites.

Essex County Council has purchased the first vehicle, where it will be used for transporting people with learning disabilities, in the Harlow area.

Boom lift. Smith Electric Vehicles is also showcasing the UK’s first fully electric vehicle-mounted van-mounted aerial work platform. Vehicle-mounted aerial lifts are widely used in the utility sector, to safely lift up workers for maintenance work at height.

This type of vehicle typically services a small geographic territory, which is ideal for limited range vehicles. And because van-mounted vehicle-mounted lifts often operate in urban areas, a zero emission vehicle with a silent motor is more considerate towards residents.

The 4,600 kg GVW vehicle utilizes the Smith Edison long wheelbase electric van chassis cab, with a lift mechanism from Versalift. Both the lifting mechanism and the vehicle are powered by Edison’s 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The van Versalift vehicle has a range of up to 80 miles on a full charge, which is impacted by around 10% when the lift is operated. Due to Versalift’s lightweight yet strong boom design, the platform has a safe working load of 200 kg—the same lifting capacity as the equivalent diesel-powered vehicle.

Utility company Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) has purchased the first vehicle, for trials in its service and maintenance fleet. SSE pioneered the use of new-technology electric commercial vehicles three years ago, when it took delivery of the first ever Smith Edison panel van.



There is a useful reality check on the practicalities of introducing EV delivery and utility vehicles throughout the fleet, and why most big organizations are still at trial stage rather than at mass deployment:

The basic obstacles are refining the design - check out the 'cold feet' problem in the video! and costs.
Hopefully battery costs will sink enough to make them properly competitive, perhaps by around 2015.
Annoyingly Fedex did not highlight their maintenance cost experience, lumping it in with fuel costs.

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