Birmingham, England – Smith Electric Vehicles has launched the Smith Ampere, an electric light van, at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, England. Based on the Ford Transit Connect, it will be launched in the U.S. concurrently with the conventional gasoline Transit Connect that will be sold across North America.

The Ampere will be branded jointly by Ford and Smith; it was developed by Smith’s parent company Tanfield in collaboration with Ford.

The Ampere is aimed at urban operators using large fleets of light vans, such as postal and courier companies, utilities and telecommunications. It has a range in excess of 160 km and a top speed of up to 112 km/h, and a payload capacity of up to 800 kg. Its new 50-kilowatt electric motor and iron phosphate lithium-ion battery pack were developed specifically for the Ampere.

Tanfield also launched the Faraday Mark II, specifically aimed at North America. Ford will supply a range of chassis for Faraday commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 13,000 kg. Tanfield will commence manufacture of the first of these new products for North America in the second half of 2008. Tanfield has reached a broad agreement with Ford to collaborate on future zero emission vehicle projects and is investigating further opportunities in sales, marketing and product development in both Europe and North America.

“The launch of Ampere brings leading edge zero-emission technology to the light van sector for the first time,” said Darren Kell, Chief Executive of The Tanfield Group. “Our relationship with Ford in North America will provide Smith with high-quality chassis that will be recognizable to, and readily accepted by American customers. Today’s product launches will significantly increase the addressable market for our electric vehicles and are a major step towards our goal of offering a full global range of zero-emission commercial vehicles, from light vans to medium-duty trucks.”

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