Smith Electric Vehicles has unveiled a 12,000kg (25,000lb) electric truck for the US market.
THE world's leading manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles is launching its unique zero emission truck in the North American market.
The robust Smith Newton is the world's largest high performance electric truck, weighing in with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of over 24,000lbs. A rack of suitcase-sized, 278 volt batteries and a 120 kilowatt motor quickly propel the vehicle up to its top speed of 50mph. In fact, Newton can accelerate from 0-30mph faster than the equivalent diesel-powered truck.
Fully charged, the vehicle has a range of up to 150 miles, while the regenerative braking system returns power to the batteries every time the vehicle slows or stops.
Kevin Harkin, Sales Director for Smith Electric Vehicles, said: "Automotive manufacturers are telling us that the technology for mass-produced electric cars is some years away.
"But the larger sized commercial vehicle - and the truck in particular - is perfectly suited to electric technology that is available today.
"There are millions of commercial vehicles in North America that work in urban areas, within defined low mileage zones or routes. All of these machines, from light postal vehicles to heavier duty distribution trucks, can be replaced with our new technology electric vehicles.
"And these congested, densely populated urban areas are exactly where vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions can make the biggest improvement to air quality."
Newton is the first vehicle in its class that can compete with the diesel equivalent - but without the polluting effects of tailpipe emissions such as nitrogen oxide; particulate matter and CO2. The vehicle has a payload capacity of up to 15,800lbs and is available in US truck Classes 5 through 7.
Launched in early 2007 in Europe, the Smith Newton is already in fleets for household names such as Starbucks, DHL and TK Maxx, along with British institutions like the Royal Mail and retailer Marks & Spencer.
It is designed for urban, intra-city operations, including home shopping delivery; 3PL logistics; post and parcel distribution; and municipal duties.
"An added benefit for fleet operators is that drivers love this vehicle," said Kevin Harkin. "We take all the stress out of city truck driving - no gear changes, no noise, no cab rattle and no diesel smell."
Along with addressing the problem of vehicle emissions in cities, the Newton also proves highly cost effective when it comes to maintenance.
"Newton's electric motor has just four moving parts, compared to over one thousand in a modern diesel driveline," said Kevin Harkin. "The major components are solid state and will still be in operation years after the rest of the vehicle has outlived its usefulness."
Smith Electric Vehicles has a facility in Fresno, CA which will open next year to manufacture US-specific vehicles for North America. This will be followed by a larger factory capable of 10,000 vehicles a year, expected to open in 2010.