Tachoblog hears that Smith Electric Vehicles US Corp (SEV US Corp) has produced the first electric truck at its new assembly facility in Kansas City.

smith newton

Smith Electric Vehicles in the UK is temporarily shipping over the Smith Newton trucks in kit form, while five British workers train the US workforce. SEV US Corp expects to be building complete trucks from components later this month.

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Darren Kell, CEO of The Tanfield Group Plc, which owns Smith Electric Vehicles and has a 49% shareholding in SEV US Corp, told Tachoblog, “We are delighted to support SEV US Corp as it moves towards full production of the Smith Newton electric truck.

“Working with SEV US Corp is delivering a fast and efficient entry into the American marketplace for our class-leading electric commercial vehicles.”

SEV US Corp recently moved into an 80,000sq ft (7,400sq m) facility close to Kansas City International Airport. It currently employs 14 people, but anticipates trebling that number by the end of 2009. The company is targeting production of 12 Smith Newton electric trucks in October – six from British kits, followed by six entire builds from scratch.

Launched in the UK in 2006, the Smith Newton is the world’s largest road-going electric truck. Three models are available in Europe, with gross vehicle weights of 7,500 – 12,000kg. The Newton has a restricted top speed of 50mph (80km/h) and its lithium-ion batteries deliver a range of up to 100 miles (160km) on a single charge. A full recharge takes 6-8 hours.

SEV US Corp owns the license to assemble and sell the Newton in North America. All design and product development work is conducted by Smith Electric Vehicles in the UK.

Smith’s British workforce has already assembled and shipped six Newton trucks to the US, which were officially handed over to major fleet operators earlier this year, including Coca-Cola, Staples and AT&T.

SEV US Corp has received $3m in tax credits from the state of Missouri as an incentive to set up in Kansas City and recently won a $10m grant from the Federal Government, to produce 100 electric trucks next year. Later in 2010, the company will also start production of a battery-electric version of the Ford Transit Connect light van.