Smith Electric Trucks Approved for Sale to US Government

The Smith Newton has been added to the US General Services Administration (GSA) schedule. The schedule is a list of products approved for purchase by all Federal agencies and the US military. These agencies spend a combined $1 billion every year on GSA-approved vehicles and automotive services. Smith’s claim that the Newton is the first medium duty electric truck to make the GSA schedule.

The vehicle is produced in North America by Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation and is already the only medium/heavy duty electric truck to be certified by the California Air Resources Board.

Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles US Corp, said: “Smith’s addition to the GSA schedule will provide a significant new opportunity for federal agencies to reduce fleet vehicle greenhouse gas emissions and open a previously untapped market for commercial electric vehicles.

“An aggressive move into this market by the federal government will allow producers to rapidly scale up production, lowering costs throughout the industry and driving the creation of high-quality manufacturing jobs.”

President Obama recently issued an executive order that, for the first time, requires all federal agencies to measure their greenhouse gas emissions – and set a plan to reduce them. The order specifically mandates a 30 percent reduction in fleet vehicle petroleum use by 2020.

With this initiative in mind the outlook for Smith’s sales in the US looks rosy, especially with the recent announcement that they intend to soon offer a hybrid freight vehicle that could double the range of their existing models of battery-powered vans and trucks.

To achieve this, Smith’s has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with fuel cell experts Proton Power Systems plc in Germany.

Electric commercial vehicles have a maximum range of around 100 miles (160km) which makes them ideal for low mileage urban operations. However, by adding a small hydrogen fuel cell Smith’s state that their vehicles will be able to achieve up to 200 miles (320km).

Under the MoU, both parties will collaborate to build and market a battery-powered commercial vehicle, equipped with a Proton Power PM200 fuel cell as a range extender. The fuel cell is used to top-up the batteries and support auxiliary vehicle functions such as air conditioning and heating. The fuel cell also provides an on-board electrical supply, which improves ease of maintenance.

Kevin Harkin, Sales Director for Smith Electric Vehicles, said: “Utilising a fuel cell range extender opens up exciting new possibilities for our electric vans and trucks.

“Enhancing the range capabilities provides a wider application for electric vehicles within large fleets, without compromising our zero emission philosophy.”

The partners will start with Smith’s highly successful Edison range of electric vans, which are currently in use with leading UK fleet operators such as Sainsbury’s Online, Scottish & Southern Energy, TNT and the Royal Mail.

The collaboration is initially focused on supplying vehicles to fleet operators across Germany and later plans to market in the UK and North America.

Proton Power and Smith will present the first prototype at the Hannover Fair in April 2010 with the first vehicles due to be delivered in the last quarter of 2010.