Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation announced today that the site of its new factory will be in Kansas City, MO. The plant, which will produce a variety of battery-powered commercial vehicles, will be located at part of the Kansas City International (KCI) Airport overhaul base that is being redeveloped. When production starts in the third quarter of this year, the first product will be the Newton delivery van which has been available in the UK for some time. In 2010, the plant will also start producing the Ford Transit Connect BEV for Ford. The electric Transit Connect will be the first of several plug-in vehicles that Ford will launch starting next year.
Among the first companies that will buying US built Smith EVs is Canteen Vending Services. The press releases from Smith and Ford are after the jump.
Zero-Emission Trucks to be Assembled in Kansas City
Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation bringing
new jobs and investment to metro area
Fortune 500 companies sign up as first customers
March 27, 2009 - Kansas City, Mo. - Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (SEV U.S. Corp), a Delaware corporation headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., announced today its plan to assemble all-electric zero-emission commercial vehicles in Kansas City. The new assembly plant will be located at a portion of an airline overhaul base at Kansas City International (KCI) Airport and is expected to create 120 jobs by 2010. Production of the first zero-emission commercial trucks is scheduled to begin third quarter of 2009.
SEV U.S. Corp will initially focus its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based predictable-route delivery fleets.
"We feel the greatest opportunity to have a major impact on the electric vehicle industry is through fleet operators who utilize commercial vehicles in a depot-based delivery model," said Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer SEV U.S. Corp.
"As more truck fleets adopt this technology, it will drive advancements in battery technology, drive down manufacturing costs, and form the foundation of a U.S.-based supply chain that, over time will also significantly reduce the cost of commercial electric vehicles. This will make them a natural choice for fleet managers with a depot-based delivery model."
The SEV U.S. Corp decision to locate the plant in Kansas City represents an initial investment of $10 million in the metro area. The KCI overhaul base was selected for the new assembly plant because of its open configuration and immediate availability. The assembly plant will occupy 80,000 square feet at the overhaul base at start-up and will scale up based on demand. SEV U.S. Corp is also leasing 8,600 square feet of office space at the Ambassador Building at KCI. The company will receive close to $3 million in job training funds and other incentives from the state of Missouri and Kansas City.
The Kansas City Area Development Council facilitated the site selection process and notes that the SEV U.S. Corp decision emphasizes the Kansas City region as a player in the evolving world of advanced energy and transportation.
SEV U.S. Corp has already received a strong expression of interest from fleet operators and as a result, the company is building a highly scalable assembly operation and supply chain to serve this emerging market. SEV U.S. Corp will begin production using chassis from multiple vehicle manufacturers.
Canteen Vending Services, a national vending company and an operating division of the Compass Group North America based in Charlotte N.C., has already signed a letter of intent with SEV U.S. Corp to purchase some of the first zero-emission vehicles to roll off the assembly line.
Compass Group's Tim Goff, Senior Vice President, 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 emissions vehicle that fits our route delivery model. As a key U.S. launch customer, Canteen is delighted to support SEV U.S. Corp and to lead the vending industry in reducing carbon output."
Frito-Lay North America, a division of PepsiCo that is headquartered in Plano, Texas, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., have also signed on as launch partners.
Through its U.K. partner, The Tanfield Group Plc, SEV U.S. Corp is working with Ford Motor Company to electrify the Ford Transit Connect as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) light-duty van scheduled for production in 2010.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president, Global Product Development, said, "We are pleased to be collaborating with SEV U.S. Corp on the first of the battery electric vehicles we will bring to market over the next several years. With the delivery of the battery electric Transit Connect, together we will be delivering a product that will satisfy the needs of fleet customers interested in moving toward electric mobility solutions."
SEV U.S. Corp is a privately held company and is 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 and has sold vehicles to major fleet operators in sectors such as mail and parcel delivery, logistics, retail, highway maintenance and airports.
"Smith Electric Vehicles' zero-emission vans and trucks are proven products that have a long history of reliability in Europe," said Hansel. "We are bringing Smith's proprietary know-how to the U.S. to integrate electric power trains, lithium ion battery packs and control systems into commercial truck chassis envelopes that meet the specific requirements of the North American fleet market."
SEV U.S. Corp's first zero-emission truck model will be the Smith Newton - the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck. It has a top speed of up to 50 mph, a range on one battery charge in excess of 100 miles and a payload of up to 16,280 lbs. SEV U.S. Corp will utilize the Enova P120 drive system for the Newton, a proven solution currently being used by Smith in Europe. The selection of Torrance, Calif., based Enova Systems, Inc.'s P120 drive system aligns with SEV U.S. Corp's core strategy to build a strong U.S.-based supply chain.
In addition to its partnership agreement with Ford on the Transit Connect, SEV U.S. Corp will expand its zero-emission product line to include other van and light truck models based on demand.
Smith Newton Truck Specifications:
- Motor - 120 kw Induction Motor
- Battery - Lithium-Ion Batteries
- Payload - 7,392 lbs to 16,280 lbs
- Gross Vehicle Weight - 16,535 lbs, 23,148 lbs or 26,455 lbs
- Range - In excess of 100 miles (one battery charge)
- Top Speed - 50 mph
- On-board Battery Charger
- Full Battery Recharge - 6 to 8 hours
PRODUCTION OF FORD ELECTRIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SLATED FOR KANSAS CITY
Ford Motor Company partner Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (SEV U.S. Corp.) has announced the all-electric zero emission 2010 Ford Transit Connect will be assembled at SEV's plant in Kansas City, Mo., beginning next year. The chassis will be built by Ford, with the electric drivetrains and lithium-ion battery packs installed by S.E.V. U.S. Corp.
The Transit Connect battery electric vehicle (BEV), based on Ford's all-new globally developed small vehicle platform, will provide a sustainable mobility solution for the growing number of commercial vehicle fleet operators who have expressed interest in electric vehicles.
Getting charged up
Transit Connect BEV is the initial offering in Ford's aggressive electric vehicle plan. In addition, Ford also will introduce in North America:
* A new battery electric small car in 2011
* Next-generation hybrid vehicles in 2012
* Plug-in hybrid versions in 2012
The decision made by SEV U.S. Corp. to locate the Transit Connect BEV plant at the former American Airlines overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport is expected to create 120 jobs by 2010, and represents an initial investment of $10 million in the metro area.
SEV U.S. Corp. is privately held and owned by U.S. investors and UK-based The Tanfield Group Plc. Tanfield also oversees Smith's UK-based operation, which has been the leading manufacturer of zero-emission battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s, having converted tens of thousands of vehicles to battery electric power, including BEV versions of the Ford Transit medium commercial vehicle.
Transit Connect's unique combination of driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low costs of entry and operation make it a logical platform for battery electric power. Transit Connect has been designed, engineered and manufactured by Ford of Europe on a dedicated global commercial vehicle platform to beat tough, light commercial vehicle durability standards.
Many commercial users travel predictable, short-range routes, with frequent stop and go driving in urban and suburban environments. For companies aiming for sustainable mobility solutions, Transit Connect BEV will help them deliver in an environmentally friendly way.