Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Collaborates on First All-Electric Utility Truck in America

July 1, 2009
June 18, 2009, Williamsburg, Virginia -- Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (SEV U.S.), a Delaware corporation headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., announced today that it has teamed up with Altec Industries Inc., based in Birmingham, Ala., to ...

June 18, 2009, Williamsburg, Virginia -- Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (SEV U.S.), a Delaware corporation headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., announced today that it has teamed up with Altec Industries Inc., based in Birmingham, Ala., to introduce America's first all-electric utility truck with an aerial device. The truck will be unveiled June 22 at the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference in Williamsburg, Va.

The truck is a battery, all-electric Smith Newton produced by SEV U.S. and SEV U.K. with an aerial bucket integrated by Altec Industries Inc., a leading provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications and contractor markets.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States, will play a critical role in the development of this vehicle. The first test unit will be added to PG&E's fleet to conduct routine and emergency overhead line work in PG&E's northern and central California service area. PG&E will provide test data to SEV U.S. and Altec for the creation of a production model. This unit is the first all-electric aerial utility truck to be put into operation by a major utility company before being brought to the market.

"We are excited to be working with PG&E and Altec on this effort to help the utility industry accelerate the reduction of fuel emissions with the introduction of electric-drive fleet vehicles," said Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer SEV U.S. "The production of this truck is just the latest example of PG&E's outstanding leadership role in sustainability-related initiatives."

PG&E is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations and helping to improve air quality in the communities we serve," said Dave Meisel, director of transportation services for PG&E. "We hope our involvement will lead to the accelerated development and mainstream acceptance of electric vehicles in our industry."

The Smith Newton is the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck. It is fuel-emissions-free, runs without noise or vibration, and actually stores energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking, and then reuses it for acceleration. The Smith Newton 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. The Altec component, an AT37-G aerial boom, is a telescopic articulating device used for electric utility line maintenance and installation. The aerial has a maximum height of 37.8 feet and reach of 28.3 feet.

"Having this truck in service in PG&E's fleet is part of much larger developmental program to evaluate all-electric fleet vehicle applications for the utility industry," said Hansel. "Utilities have a huge role to play in helping lead the electrification of vehicles in the U.S."

SEV U.S. is initially focusing its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based predictable-route delivery and service fleets. The trucks will be assembled at the company's 80,000 square foot plant in Kansas City.

SEV U.S. 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. will begin production using chassis from multiple vehicle manufacturers.

In collaboration with the Ford Motor Company, SEV U.S. has agreed to upfit Ford chassis to deliver Ford's first electrified vehicle for the North American market. Using proprietary technologies transferred from the The Tanfield Group Plc, SEV U.S. will assemble and manufacture the Transit Connect as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) light-duty van scheduled for production in 2010.

About SEV U.S.

SEV U.S. is a privately held company and is owned by Private Investors Management, and The Tanfield Group Plc, based in the United Kingdom. Tanfield is also the parent company of Smith Electric Vehicles U.K., 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 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)
  • On-board Battery Charger
  • Full Battery Recharge: 6 to 8 hours

    About Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation: Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation (SEV U.S. Corp) (, a Delaware corporation, is an all-electric zero-emissions commercial truck manufacturer. The company licenses its proprietary technology from Smith Electric Vehicles U.K., the world's largest manufacturer and industry leader of commercial electric vehicles. SEV U.S. Corp is a privately held company owned by Private Investors Management, and the Tanfield Group Plc, based in the United Kingdom. SEV U.S. Corp produces the Smith Newton; the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck, and has a partnership agreement with Ford Motor Company to electrify its new battery electric vehicle, the Ford Transit Connect, scheduled for production in 2010.

    About Altec Industries, Inc.:

    Altec is the leading manufacturer of aerial lifts, digger derricks, truck-mounted cranes and specialty equipment for the electric utility, telecommunications, contractor and tree care industries. Altec has manufacturing, sales and service facilities located throughout North America and sells and services equipment in over 100 countries. For more information about Altec Industries, please visit or contact Jessica Hallman at 205-995-4317.

    About Ford Motor Company: Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's wholly owned brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit

    About Tanfield Group Plc

    The Tanfield Group Plc is the world's leading developer and manufacturer of road-going commercial electric vehicles and aerial work platforms. Tanfield is headquartered in Washington, Tyne & Wear, with operations in Europe, Scandinavia, North America, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa. It has two main divisions:

    Smith Electric Vehicles was founded in 1920 and acquired by Tanfield in October 2004. Following its acquisition, Smith is developing into a world leader in new technology electric vans and trucks with greatly enhanced performance, speed and range capabilities. This makes them attractive for all fleet operators in large towns, cities and closed industrial environments. For the first time, these fleet operators have economically viable, zero emission alternatives to using diesel vans and trucks. Smith has an unrivalled UK-wide service and support network, which already maintains over 5,000 vehicles for major fleet operators.

    Powered Access contains two of the world's most established aerial work platform brands, UpRight Powered Access and Snorkel International. UpRight is the UK's biggest manufacturer of self-propelled aerial work platforms (also known as "cherry-pickers", "mobile elevating work platforms", "aerial lifts", etc). UpRight has assembly facilities in the UK and USA, with products sold through a strong network of over 200 independent, full-service distributors across Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. Snorkel, acquired in August 2007, has significant manufacturing capabilities along with strong sales and distribution, in North America and Australia. Tanfield has successfully extended its powered access product range and is now one of only three "full line" aerial lift manufacturers to have a significant global footprint in both the North America and EMEA regions, in what is a $7 billion market.

  • About the Author

    Amy Fischbach | Field Editor

    Amy Fischbach is the field editor for the Electric Utility Operations section of Transmission & Distribution World. She worked for Prism Business Media (now Penton) for eight years, most recently as the managing editor of Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro magazine. She is now working as a freelance writer and editor for B2B magazines. Amy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. She serves as the national vice president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. She can be reached at [email protected].

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