More EV trucks are rolling!

Post date: Feb 26, 2012 9:49:32 PM

Many of us have spent a lot of time working on ways to speed the introduction of electric vehicles in this country – which is important given the significant benefits they provide in greenhouse gas emission reduction, energy security, and general modernization of the transportation system. Most of the time we are focusing on passenger vehicles, but we shouldn’t forget that EVs include trucks too!

I recently shared a panel (at the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition EV workshop) with Brett Gipe of Smith Electric Vehicles, who gave a very encouraging account of the market growth in commercial electric vehicles. Smith, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, is a British-based company who are now expanding rapidly in the U. S. They manufacture a variety of delivery-van-type vehicles and have become a real force in local delivery in New York City, where their customers include distributors of seafoods, drugstore supplies, snack foods, and various specialty goods. They have done so well in the city that they have announced that they are opening a manufacturing facility in the Bronx! They are also expanding into other cities and into other markets, including schoolbuses and parcel delivery.

Smith says that although their products have higher sticker prices they save so much on operating costs that total cost of their vehicles is significantly lower than comparable gasoline and diesel units.

It’s great to see EV use expanding in these markets, where the benefits appear obvious. The trickier question will be how we can increase electric propulsion in the larger supply chain, which is overwhelmingly dominated by diesel tractor-trailers.