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Ford & Smith Collaborate on All-Electric Vehicles

November 2008, by Lisajoyce Vergara - Also by this author

Ford Motor Company and UK-based Smith Electric Vehicles have launched two new all-electric vehicles (EVs): the Ampere, based on Ford’s Transit chassis and the Faraday Mark II, built on the Ford F-650 chassis cab. Expected to begin production in North America this year, the vehicles were introduced to the European market last spring.

Smith, a trading division of the Tanfield Group, has been manufacturing all-electric vehicles since 1920. The company’s U.S. operations are headquartered in Glendale, Ariz.

Ampere: First Light Van EV

According to Smith, the Ampere is the first EV in the light-duty van segment and is targeted for urban applications including delivery, utilities, and telecommunications.

The Ampere offers an operating range of 100-plus miles on a single battery charge and a top speed of 70 mph. Its 50-kW electric motor and iron phosphate lithium ion battery pack were designed specifically for the Ampere.

The zero-emissions Ampere features a 5,159 lb. GVW and a maximum 1,764-lb. payload. The van can be recharged from a conventional main electric source, but benefits from a greatly reduced charge time when supplied with a three-phase power supply.

Ford launched a conventionally powered Transit Connect in the U.S. earlier this year.

Faraday Mark II Aimed at North American market

The Faraday Mark II is specifically aimed at the North American market, according to Smith officials. The all-electric truck is expected to feature specifications similar to Smith’s Newton truck, sold in the UK and Europe. The Newton features GVW ranges of 16,535-26,455 lbs. With a top speed of 50 mph, the truck can be driven in excess of 100 miles on one battery charge.

The Faraday Mark II requires a three-phased power supply and can be charged fully overnight or eight to 10 hours. The battery also can be "topped-up" on the road with onboard charges.

Future Collaborations Planned

Tanfield and Ford have reached a broad agreement to collaborate on future zero-emissions vehicle projects.

"Our relationship with Ford in North America will provide Smith a high-quality chassis that will be recognizable to and readily accepted by American customers," said Darren Kell, Tanfield CEO. WT

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