U.K.-based manufacturer to create 10,000 electric trucks per year at US facility

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WASHINGTON, U.K. — Smith Electric Vehicles, a U.K.-based manufacturer of road-going electric vans and trucks, is to establish a major production facility in the US.

The factory will have the capacity to produce up to 10,000 zero emission vehicles per year, from 2010.

Smith manufactures a range of highway electric vehicles, ranging from 7,000-lbs. vans to 25,000-lbs. trucks. With a top speed of 50 mph, fast acceleration and a range on one battery charge of up to 150 miles, they are deployed largely in urban delivery applications, in sectors including mail and parcel, groceries, retail/distribution and utilities.

“Electric vehicles offer a next-generation automotive industry for America,” said Darren Kell, CEO of The Tanfield Group Plc which owns Smith Electric. “Ten thousand vehicles a year is a substantial commitment, but we believe that is just the start. Our initial research shows that there is an addressable market in the USA of around 200,000 units a year for our commercial electric vehicles.”

Smith Electric already has a 70,000 sq. ft. facility in Fresno, Calif., which has the capacity to produce 1,000 vehicles next year.

The new US factory, which Kell said could be set up anywhere in North America, would require up to a 300 acre site, including a 500,000 sq. ft. assembly facility, test track and space for rolling stock. It would create at least 500 jobs.

“We have opened dialogue with local government in a number of areas across the United States,” he said. “The response has been extremely positive and we will be moving forward with an identified location in early 2008.”

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