The German government is pushing ahead with its target of getting one million electric vehicles on its roads by 2020, by trialling a fleet of Smith Electric Vehicles.
Smith has fitted ten Ford Transits with its EV technology and supplied the finished vans, called Smith Edisons, to Ford of Europe, in a deal worth some £500,000.
Ford of Europe is a partner in the colognE-mobil project in Cologne; the first phase of which will examine the potential benefits of electric commercial vehicles in Cologne, then forecast how they could impact on Germany’s plans to reach its 2020 target.
The vans, which are powered by lithium-ion batteries, are designed for urban operations and can deliver a range of up to 100 miles on a full charge and a top speed of 50mph.
For this project, Smith will build seven Edison panel vans for delivery service companies, two Edison minibuses for passenger shuttle services and one Edison chassis cab for municipal use in the city of Cologne.
Ford of Europe will be responsible for their technical maintenance and service during the project, and will also deploy Ford Focus BEV electric passenger cars further down the line.
The initiative will focus on researching the impact of electric vans and cars on urban air quality, traffic safety and electricity supply infrastructure.
Ford is one of four partners in the colognE-mobil project. The others are utility company RheinEnergie AG, the City of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen.
The colognE-mobil project is partly funded by the German government and co-ordinated by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.