Here in the UK, the Sunderland Echo is reporting that Smith Electric Vehicles – part of the Tanfield Group – has signed a £1million-plus deal which will give it a foothold in the lucrative Far East market.


According to Business reporter Kevin Clark, ‘The company has signed deal with a Hong Kong distributor which will see 15 of its electric trucks used in the former colony and southern China.

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A company spokesman refused to comment on the report, but Chris Pywell, head of strategic change with regional development agency One NorthEast, said: “I would like to congratulate Tanfield Group on securing this fantastic deal to distribute electric vehicles in China and Hong Kong.

“This represents a clear demonstration that the region’s expertise in the field of electric vehicle production is being recognised globally as well as nationally.”

The deal was completed at the national Low-Carbon Vehicle Event, held near Milton Keynes late last week.

News of the deal emerged during a visit to Smith’s Vigo Lane factory by business minister Ian Lucas.

Speaking to the paper after touring the factory floor, Mr Lucas said,’”It has taken me by surprise a bit, my father worked at AEI at Birtley for years and it is great to see manufacturing still happening in the North East.

“I had not known that they were so advanced in terms of what they were able to produce here.

“They have got the product – I have driven the van myself and I was very impressed – now we need to get it to move on into mass production.”

The Government has its part to play, he said. “We are on the way to something big here,” added Mr Lucas.

“We need to do what we can as a Government, both as a buyer of electric vehicles and as someone who can encourage private companies to buy electric vehicles, incentivise private individuals to move the whole thing forward.”