Right next to the Modec booth at EVS23, Smith Electric Vehicles commanded a swath of floor space with their large Smith Newton electric truck. Mark Aubry, North American sales manager for Smith Electric Vehicles, was available for an interview and told AutoblogGreen about how these trucks could work for American companies. The official launch of these EVs in the U.S. was two days before we spoke.
The Smith Newton is a 26,000 pound GVW truck, a class 7 truck, 16,000 payload. Smaller versions - class 5 or 6 - are also available. Depending on customer need, these trucks can be delivered with between two and six batteries (one battery doesn't have enough power to move the truck). Using four batteries, the truck can go 150 miles with a 50 mph top speed, while two batteries give you a 40-60 mile range and work best with light products (garments, for example). More batteries also reduce the payload capacity. Each battery pack costs $16,000. With four battery packs, a 2007 Smith Newton is $150,000 ($64,000 for the batteries, $86,000 for the truck). While that's a large amount, Aubry said operating costs are a low 11 cents a mile.
Smith Newtons use sodium nickel chloride (Zebra) batteries, the current battery of choice for heavy trucks. Aubry said that Smith is testing lithium ion batteries and expects to sell trucks with that option in the near future. The Zebra-laden trucks are available now, as is my interview with Aubry (7:30 min, 5 MB).