Smith Electric Vehicles Debuts Two New EV Trucks

Faraday has a GVW from 3.5t to 7.5t, a restricted top speed of up to 50mph, up to 4t payload and enough battery power to cover up to 120 miles between charges.

Published: 20-Feb-2006

Smith Electric Vehicles is making its debut at the Commercial Vehicle Show, where it will unveil a new range of battery powered vans and LCVs that will revolutionise the urban goods delivery market.

British manufacturer Smith is launching two next-generation electric vehicles (EVs), Faraday and Edison.

Kevin Harkin, business development manager for electric vehicles, said: "Our vehicles are cheaper than diesel or petrol LCVs and require far less maintenance.

"There are obvious environmental benefits, but the bottom line is simply that EVs cost less."

Extensive research carried out over more than five years by Smith's technical experts has found that the whole life cost of a Smith Electric Vehicle is up to a third less than that of the equivalent van or LCV.

"For a start, there are a handful of moving parts at best in an electric vehicle, compared to over 1,000 in an internal combustion engine," said Mr Harkin.

"This means there is a lot less to go wrong – and on the rare occasions when a problem does occur, it can be quickly diagnosed and fixed."

Smith customers also have access to the UK's only nationwide EV service support network, through Smith's sister company, SEV Group Ltd.

SEV has more than 150 service engineers based at seven depots across the UK, looking after more than 5,000 vehicles.

Because every model in the Smith range is a zero emission vehicle, they also qualify for zero Road Fund Licence (road tax), do not require an operator's licence and are not subject to an annual MoT.

"All of this stacks up in favour of electric vehicles, before you even look at the cost of fuel," said Mr Harkin. "Smith Electric Vehicles run on less than 4p per mile."

Faraday has a GVW from 3.5t to 7.5t, a restricted top speed of up to 50mph, up to 4t payload and enough battery power to cover up to 120 miles between charges.

Edison is aimed at the market for vehicles under 3.5t GVW and will directly compete with Transit type vans.

Both have speed and range capabilities far greater than traditional EV technology.

Mr Harkin said: "Commercial vehicles powered by lead acid batteries can still only produce a top speed of around 25mph and a range between charges of about 40 miles.

"This has really pigeon-holed them into niche applications, such as estates management.

"The vast improvements we have made in these areas have exponentially increased our potential market."

The impressive increases in these areas have been achieved through integrating a new type of battery – Sodium Nickel Chloride, which boasts a much higher power-to-weight ratio than traditional lead acid batteries.

Smith is targeting Faraday and Edison at companies operating in Britain's congested city centres, from parcel and goods delivery fleets, to builders and tradesmen.

"Faraday and Edison can more than compete in closed urban environments when it comes to speed," said Mr Harkin.

The latest study by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that, in the 18 largest towns and cities outside of London, the average rush hour traffic speed was 21mph, and the average off-peak speed was just 25.3mph.

Figures for London are even worse. The latest study by Transport for London found the average peak time speed in the Congestion Charging Zone is between eight and 12 miles per hour.

Because they are zero emission, Smith Electric Vehicles are exempt from the London Congestion Charge and also qualify for free parking in parts of central London.

Smith Electric Vehicles, based in County Durham, is the world's oldest electric vehicle manufacturer and still one of the largest in the world. Established in 1920, it has been a market leader for more than seven decades.

It has a customer base of more than 500 clients, from prisons and NHS trusts, to local authorities and food distributors.

It is the only UK company with such high specification, commercial electric vehicles in production.

Mr Harkin said: "We are not the only player in the commercial EV market, but we have an unrivalled heritage and vast experience of designing and building electric vehicles.

"We know what the market wants, which is proved by the fact that we are already selling Faraday."

In line with the Smith's green policy, almost the entire vehicle can be recycled.

"Wherever possible, we are using fully recyclable materials, even down to the battery technology," said Mr Harkin. There are no heavy metals or noxious substances."

The first models to be mass-produced at Smith's 250,000sq ft facility are aimed at drivers in congested inner city areas, where high top speeds are not necessary, in sectors such as food delivery or kerbside recycling collection.

The company also offers a bespoke service, where it can produce vehicles of much higher speeds or with a range of up to 200 miles.

"We can make them accelerate as fast as a sports car, if that is what the customer wants," said Mr Harkin, "But there is a trade off with range and payload.

"With Faraday and Edison, we are a step closer to writing off the internal combustion engine as a dirty, polluting anachronism."

The CV Show takes place at Birmingham NEC, from April 25 – 27. Visit Smith Electric Vehicles at Hall 4, stand 4680, or visit the new website,

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