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Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.4, April 2009, Posted On: 4/11/2009


Smith Plans Battery-Powered Trucks; Canteen, Frito-Lay Sign On


Tim Sanford
Editor@vendingtimes.net
Vending, Vending Machine, Automatic Retailing, Coin-op, Smith Electric Vehicles, Fleets, Electric Vehicles, Frito-Lay, Compass Group, Canteen Vending, PepsiCo, Tanfield, Enova P120

KANSAS CITY, MO -- Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp. has announced that it plans to assemble all-electric zero-emission commercial vehicles in Kansas City. The company will initially focus its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based predictable-route delivery fleets.

Smith has received a strong expression of interest from fleet operators. Canteen Vending Services, an operating division of the Compass Group North America (Charlotte, NC), has signed a letter of intent to purchase some of the first zero-emission vehicles to roll off the assembly line.

Compass Group's Tim Goff, senior vice-president of strategic initiatives said, "Canteen has been proactively seeking, testing and evaluating vehicles with the latest in fuel efficiency and clean technology for adoption into our fleet specs. Smith Electric Vehicles is the first to provide a zero-emission vehicle that fits our route delivery model. As a key U.S. launch customer, Canteen is delighted to support Smith and to lead the vending industry in reducing carbon output."

Frito-Lay North America (Plano, TX), a division of PepsiCo, and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (San Francisco) also have signed on as launch partners.

Smith will begin production using chassis from multiple vehicle manufacturers. Its first zero-emission truck model will be the Smith Newton, said to be the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck. It has a top speed of up to 50 mph, a range in excess of 100 miles on one battery charge and a payload of up to 16,280 lbs.

The company is employing the Enova P120 drive system for the Newton, as it presently does in Europe. The selection of Torrance, CA-based Enova Systems's P120 drive system aligns with Smith's core strategy to build a strong U.S.-based supply chain.

Through its UK partner, The Tanfield Group Plc, Smith is working with Ford Motor Co. to electrify the Ford Transit Connect as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) light-duty van, scheduled for production in 2010.

In addition to its partnership agreement with Ford on the Transit Connect, Smith will expand its zero-emission product line to include other van and light truck models, based on demand.

Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp is a privately held company owned by U.S. investors and The Tanfield Group Plc, based in the United Kingdom. Tanfield is also the parent company of Smith Electric Vehicles, the leading manufacturer of zero-emission battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s.

Smith has produced the Newton truck in Europe for more than three years. It's powered by a lithium ion battery driving a 120-Kw. induction motor. The battery can be recharged in six to eight hours, using an onboard charger.

The company maintains a website at sev-us.com.


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