Electric Truck to Work in PG&E Fleet

September 28, 2010

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) is helping develop America's first all-electric utility truck with an aerial device. The first test unit, engineered by Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. (SEV U.S.) with an Altec AT37-G aerial boom, is doing line work to gather performance data in PG&E's California service area.

“We hope our involvement will lead to the accelerated development and mainstream acceptance of electric vehicles in our industry,” said Dave Meisel, director of transportation services for PG&E.

The Smith Newton is the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck. Smith has been building electric vehicles in Britain since the 1920s, and maintains more than 5,000 commercial vehicles for customers there now.

An on-board charger can refresh a fully discharged Newton battery in about eight hours, and regenerative braking extends the lithium-ion storage cell's range beyond 100 miles. The Altec articulating lift reaches a maximum height of 37.8 feet and 28.3 feet of reach.

SEV U.S. initially will focus on battery-electric-powered vehicles, using chassis from existing manufacturers, to address depot-based, route delivery and service fleets. Trucks will be assembled at the company's 80,000-square-foot plant in Kansas City.

SEV U.S. will upfit Ford chassis to deliver Ford's first North American electrified vehicle, a battery-electric light-duty van called the Transit Connect (see our Hands-on Trucking review of the gasoline-powered version of the Ford Transit Connect).

SEV, coincidentally, is an operating division of The Tanfield Group, a UK company that also owns UpRight and Snorkel.   

Newton Specs
Motor 120 kw induction (161 horsepower)
Payload Up to 16,280 lbs
Gross Vehicle Weight 16,535 to 26,455 lbs
Range (single charge) >100 miles
Top Speed 50 mph