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CV SHOW: Ford does electric Connect deal

Date: 25 April 2008   |   Author: Tristan Young

Ford has given its official backing to a new all-electric version of the Transit Connect developed by Smith Electric Vehicles.

North-east-based Smith has developed a battery-powered Transit Connect called the Ampere with a range of 100 miles and a top speed of 70mph.

It has a gross vehicle weight of 2340kg and a payload capacity of up to 800kg. Load volume is unaffected by the conversion.

Smith, owned by engineering firm The Tanfield Group, has already developed an electric Transit called the Edison.

The seal of approval from Ford means that any sales enquiries gained through Ford's commercial vehicle division will be directed to Smith.

Darren Kell, chief executive of Tanfield, said: "If Ford finds customers, it would forward them to us, and we're in discussions on how to sell these vehicles and also about servicing and maintenance.

"These electric vans are aimed at the urban delivery firm on a well-defined route with a set base. The market size for this type of vehicle is between 50,000 and 60,000 vans."

Power comes from a battery that fits in the space where the fuel tank would normally be. Although the Ampere is double the price of a diesel-powered Connect, it only costs 1.5p per mile in 'fuel' costs with a full charge taking four-six hours. However, there is a fast charge of 80% in one hour.

Kell added: "Fleets understand that over five years the costs make sense. There are a number of lease companies wanting to get on board.

"By the end of 2010 we want to have a build rate of 10,000 a year. Customers already include Scottish and Southern Energy, TNT, DHL and BT. Order time at the moment is to the end of the year."