Smith Electric Vehicles, which will be responsible for bringing the Smith Newton electric commercial truck to the electric vehicle market, will be assembling its Newton trucks in Kansas City, Missouri. A new assembly plant will be placed at a portion of an airline overhaul base located at Kansas City International Airport. The new plant represents an investment of $10 million into the metro area.

The new plant will initially occupy 80,000 sq ft and is expected to generate 120 jobs by 2010. Production of the Newton trucks is expected to commence in third quarter 2009, and the plant is capable of scaling up based on demand. Smith Electric Vehicles will also be leasing 8600 sq ft of office space at the Ambassador Building within KCI and receiving $3 million in job training funds and other incentives from the state of Missouri and Kansas City.

With the Smith Newton's initial focus on depot-based predictable-route delivery fleets, major players including Canteen Vending Services, Frito-Lay North America, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company have already signed up for delivery of the initial production run.

The Smith Newton trucks are currently the world's largest zero-emission, battery-electric-powered commercial trucks. Even with a payload of up to 16,280 lb, the Newton is capable of traveling in excess of 100 miles on a single charge. Specifications for the Newton truck are as follows:

  • Motor -- 120 kW induction motor
  • Battery -- Lithium-ion batteries
  • Payload -- 7392 lb to 16,280 lb
  • Gross Vehicle Weight -- 16,535 lb, 23,148 lb, or 26,455 lb
  • Range -- In excess of 100 miles (one charge)
  • Top Speed -- 50 mph
  • On-board Battery Charger
  • Full Battery Recharge -- 6 to 8 hours

Source: Eidson and Partners