Seriously cool, or just a glorified milk float?

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The Tanfield Group caused a stir last year with the release of the battery powered Newton truck and the Edison van. Since then more vehicles have gone out for appraisal and it has plans to ramp up production over the coming year.

Both vehicles are powered by sodium nickel chloride batteries and an electric motor – 90kw for the Edison and 120kw for the Newton.

Last year TNT started trials of both vehicles in the Rotterdam area. The Edison is a 3.5 tonner housed in the Ford Transit body shell. It uses three batteries and has a top speed of 50mph, a range of up to 150 miles on one battery charge and a payload of 880kg. The nine tonne Newton operates in the same area, but making 15 to 20 stops a day. Powered by six batteries, it has a payload of 3,000kg; a top speed of 50mph and a range on one charge of up to 130 miles.

Tanfield is planning for a major increase in production over the next couple of years. It recently agreed a deal with Enova Systems that could lead to the supply of more than 1,000 electric motors this year and as many as 3,000 in 2009.

Tanfield is not the only producer of electric trucks. Aixam Mega, manufactures the Mega Multitruck range of ultra light, electric or diesel powered utility vehicles in France and has been importing them into the UK since 2005. The range includes van, tipper, dropside, pick-up and chassis cab body configurations.

Each one is three metres in length and offers a payload of up to 415 kg. The electrics have a top speed of 40 mph and a range of around 60 miles per single charge.

UK managing director Lawrence Holland says: “The electric versions of the Mega Multitrucks can be recharged overnight from any standard electric socket and cost less than 2p per mile to run.

Modec is promising a ride and drive facility at the CV Show.

It will be supplying four vehicles for visitors to experience for themselves in a unique ride and drive event.

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