As soon as we heard the announcement about Smith Electric Vehicles US Corp and Ford's Smith-built Transit Connect coming to America, our minds soon turned to the battery supplier of that company, Valence Technology. The Austin, Texas-based firm keeps a lower profile than some of its competitors like A123 and Enerdel preferring, it seems, to quietly go about the business of being putting its batteries into vehicles as diverse as the Segway and the PV1 truck.
The rumor has now been confirmed. Smith Electric Vehicles launched the Ampere electric van at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham NEC. If the Ampere looks like a Ford Transit Connect to you, nicely done. It's built on the Transit Connect chassis. The EVs specs are quite respectable: a 70mph maximum speed with a range "in excess" of 100 miles. It is powered by a 50kw motor and an under-slung lithium-ion battery pack, which leaves the van's full interior volume available for carrying capacit