Royal Mail tries electrics

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Smith Electric Vehicles has won its first order from the Royal Mail – one of each of the Edison and Newton delivery vehicles, for trials. The vehicles will be used in London, in parcel and post distribution operations.

The Edison is a sub-3.5t electric van, built using a Ford Transit shell. The Newton is sold in 7.5t and 9t configurations. Both have restricted top speeds of some 50mph and are capable of covering 150 miles on one battery charge.

Royal Mail has a fleet of more than 33,000 delivery vehicles operating across the UK, including about 10,700 3.5t vans and 2,500 7.5 tonners.

The manufacturer is installing extra production capacity at Vigo Centre, its 250,000 sq ft assembly facility in Tyne & Wear.

Darren Kell, chief executive of Smith’s parent company Tanfield, said: “The adoption of the Low Emission Zone in London and expected road pricing in 10 other urban conurbations across the UK will significantly increase the addressable market for electric vehicles. To this end, we are now installing additional production capability at a much faster rate than we had previously planned.”

  • Smiths plans to double output this year. It builds five vehicles a week and will make 10 a week by the end of the year and 30 next year. The 7.5-tonne Newton truck was launched in December with a price tag of £60,000. The group has also recently launched a 9 tonner.
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