Sunday, April 4, 2010

Electric Freight Truck Firm Confirms $32 Million Government Payment

Smiths US Offshoot Negotiates Buy Out
Shipping News Feature

US – Tanfield owned electric truck division Smiths Electric Vehicles UK tell us this week that the American Government have confirmed the second tranche of payments to fund their US subsidiary for an order of 500 all electric trucks which will incentivise major US fleet operators to switch to all electric vehicles. The Smith Newton trucks are built on a 3.9metre wheelbase Chassis with gross vehicle weights between 7.5 and 12 tonnes. They range between chassis cabs through to box body reefer units and with the standard battery options can carry a payload up to almost 7.5 tonnes over a 150 mile range at speeds up to 50miles per hour (download full specification here).

The latest grant is for the remaining $22 million after a preliminary payment of $10 from the US Department of Energy (note not Transportation) to Smiths Electric Vehicles US (SEVUS) after intensive discussions to August last year. The purpose of the grant is to enable the US authorities to recover comprehensive operational data from all the companies involved in using the new vehicles to enable a full appraisal of potential savings. Currently the initial purchase price tends to be a restricting factor when firms take a view on fleet replacement despite the almost non existent operating costs of the new vehicles.

SEVUS say they will use part of the funding to offset their research and development costs for new vehicles. Tanfield currently own 49% of SEVUS with the balance of shares split between private investors and the senior management at the company. The technology is Tanfields but on 10th March SEVUS made a conditional, non-binding offer to buy Tanfield's Smith Electric Vehicles Division Assets, conditional, inter alia, on SEVUS financing. We envisage that with the exciting prospects of all electric fleets becoming the norm for urban freight delivery companies and local authorities across the US it will not be difficult for SEEVUS to find the funding.