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First Smith EV Newton Step Vans to be deployed by FedEx Express

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March 21, 2012

FedEx Express will be the first company in the U.S. to deploy the Newton Step Van, an elec...

FedEx Express will be the first company in the U.S. to deploy the Newton Step Van, an electric delivery van developed by Smith Electric Vehicles and Utilimaster

Smith Electric Vehicles has announced the start of production of a new electric walk-in delivery van developed in collaboration with Indiana-based Utilimaster. Incorporating Smith's proprietary drive and control, battery management and remote system monitoring technologies, the zero-emission Newton Step Van is said to offer a range of around 100 miles (160 km) on a single charge of its Lithium-ion batteries. The first company to deploy the new vehicle in the U.S. will be FedEx Express, the world's largest express transportation company.

Based on Smith's Newton chassis platform and featuring an integrated walk-in van design courtesy of Utilimaster (a subsidiary of Spartan Motors), the Newton Step Van is available in gross vehicle weight configurations of between 14,000 pounds and 26,000 pounds (6,350 - 11,793 kg), with between 650 to 1,200 cubic feet (18.4 - 33.9 cubic meters) of cargo capacity and up to 10,000 pounds (4,535 kg) of payload.

The vehicle features the company's Smith Drive, a 134kW/180bhp brushless, permanent magnet electric motor delivering 650Nm of torque and a vector-controlled AC system with regenerative braking. There's an onboard charger, and battery management is taken care of by Smith Power technology, a system that's said to be capable of using batteries of varying sizes from different manufacturers, although Smith's current preferred partners are Valence and A123. The built-in Smith Link system enables vital vehicle information to be monitored and transmitted to a central server via GPRS. Power-assisted steering and ABS brakes also feature.

Smith EV - whose customers include the U.S. Marine Corps, Staples, TNT and Coca-Cola - says that the new vehicle will be deployed in select U.S. markets during the coming year. Businesses opting for electric vehicles like the Newton Step Van could well find that they start to pay for themselves in a relatively short time. A recent study by researchers at MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics suggests that businesses choosing electric vehicles for city deliveries save between nine and 12 percent in operational costs compared to those using trucks powered by diesel engines.

Sources: Smith Electric Vehicles, Utilimaster, MIT

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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14 Comments

Just wait until the batteries lose half their capacity and start self destructing.

Slowburn
21st March, 2012 @ 07:38 pm PDT

Non non, just wait until those combustion monsters stop poisoning us ! (..and the rest)

btw, "self destructing batteries" is the first time I hear that...

sinan
22nd March, 2012 @ 03:53 am PDT

Ok...dumb question time....why isn't the roof covered in solar panels? That's a pretty large area.

VoiceofReason
22nd March, 2012 @ 07:08 am PDT

"self destructing"? Hmm you mean gasoline is not destructive? haha

Colin Ordaniel Foss
22nd March, 2012 @ 09:01 am PDT

Try googling exploding laptops.

Slowburn
22nd March, 2012 @ 10:47 am PDT

Gasoline needs an oxidizer.

Slowburn
22nd March, 2012 @ 10:49 am PDT

Odd--we didn't have exploding batteries in the 1990s when GM mainstreamed production of the all-electric EV1 which ultimately achieved 250 miles per charge before it was mysteriously removed from the market.

Hugh Shipman
22nd March, 2012 @ 11:36 am PDT

REGARDING THE EV1 ... NOT ONLY 250 MI. / CHARGE ON THE BATTERIES , BUT , IN TESTING , IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT THE LIFE OF THE BATTERIES WAS EQUAL TO 30-35,000 MILES BEFORE A REPLACEMENT WAS NECESSARY .

britons
22nd March, 2012 @ 01:12 pm PDT

The batteries on the EV1 were lead-acid batteries or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) not Lithium-ion.

There is no mystery to why GM killed the EV1. The government of California changed the law that had made the EV1 marginally economically viable. The crystal ball gazers did not see any signs that a cost effective battery was on the way. Plus supporting such a small fleet of vehicles is not cost effective.

Slowburn
22nd March, 2012 @ 09:38 pm PDT

Voice;

The area is far too small. The cost of installation would be recovered in about 500 years.

slowburn;

laptops have little or no heat management capability. Check out the TeslaMotors.com site for info on automotive applications.

Brian Hall
23rd March, 2012 @ 04:49 am PDT

UNLESS YOU WERE THERE WHEN GM KILLED THE EV1 , YOU SHOULD STAND DOWN . THE DELCO ENGINEERS WERE IN DISBELIEF THAT THE GM PRESIDENT COMPLETELY UNDER RATED THE CARS MERITS . FURTHERMORE , A COMPLETE INFRASTRUCTURE HAD BEEN PROTOTYPED AND BUILT BY HUGHES AIRCRAFT ( THEN OWNED BY GM ) WITH FUTURE TECHNOLOGY IN MIND (REMEMBER THE HUGHES SOLAR RACER ) . THE SYSTEM OF KIOSKS AND WALL MOUNTABLE CHARGERS COULD HAVE BEEN INSTALLED AS PARKING METERS OR AT HOME . LEAD ACID BATTERIES ARE RECYCLABLE AND CHEAP . I WAS WITNESS TO IT ALL AND NO CRYSTAL BALL WAS NEEDED . WE COULD HAVE HAD VIABLE ELECTRIC CARS TWO DECADES AGO WITH THE MEANS TO CHARGE THEM AND A LEG UP ON A SYSTEM THAT WOULD SUPPORT MODERN BATTERY TECHNOLOGY . TRUE , CALIFORNIA DID CHANGE THE MANDATE LAW , BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT MADE GM CRUSH THE FLEET OF EV1S . ANY THOUGHTS OTHER THAN "NOT COST EFFECTIVE" ?

britons
23rd March, 2012 @ 01:01 pm PDT

re; britons

First. Your screaming doesn't lend credibility to your statements.

There are lots of reasons not to like lead acid Batteries starting with the lead that gets out the chimney with every trip through the recycler.

The GM management believed that the price they could sell the EV1 for was higher than the price sufficient numbers of people would be willing to pay for it.

If GM management were particularly competent they would not have let their company become Government Motors.

Slowburn
23rd March, 2012 @ 07:06 pm PDT

slowburn , you assume that if a person types in all caps they are screaming . i will try lower case and surely you will find my comments more believable . the fact is , you can put any battery in the ev1 you like and gm was not going to produce that car . they had other reasons to buy hughes corp. and develop the car with an infrastructure to support electric cars . i was there the day they killed the car and it had nothing to do with the price they could sell it for . it does not get much better or more credible than being an eye witness to the project while being developed . please keep in mind what i said about the engineers disbelief in what the management did . i maintain we could have had viable electric cars two decades ago . by the way , are cost effective batteries pollution free ?

britons
25th March, 2012 @ 02:49 am PDT

re; britons

Ok you were there when they announced they were killing the EV1. Where were you when they made the decision?

I have not seen an electric car that is viable as anything but a rich man's toy even using the most absurdly optimistic performance figures.

Not all pollution is equal. Nitric oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon particles, and leaked petroleum distillates are all removed by natural processes. Lead just sits there harming immune systems, and lowering IQs for the rest of eternity.

Slowburn
26th March, 2012 @ 03:16 pm PDT
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