[Originally published at Gas 2.0] Company officials at the UK-based Smith Electric Vehicles have announced that they will begin manufacturing "The world's largest battery-electric-powered truck" at a new plant in Kansas City, Missouri.
The battery-powered Newton will be the first vehicle to be produced at the new plant, but starting next year, the plant will manufacture an electric version of the new Transit Connect light-duty vehicle in collaboration with made by Ford Motor Co.
The Newton cruises at a top speed of 50mph, carries payloads up to eight tons and can last up to 150 miles on a single charge. The Newton also has a wheelbase of 3.9 meters and a turning radius of 14.15 meters, allowing it to make tight turns and making it ideal for urban applications.
Available in a range of body styles to meet specific customer needs, the Newton can even be fully refrigerated.
According to manufacturers, the Newton is perfectly suited for "depot-based fleets, engaged in lower-mileage, multi-drop collection intra-city operations on congested roads." In short, don't expect these to be taking the place of 18-wheel tractor trailers, but do expect to see them being used as delivery vehicles, logistics vehicles in and around airports, and as service vehicles around town.
The Kansas City location was one of several vying for the new plant, but the $3 million in tax incentives for Smith from the state of Missouri helped seal the deal.
Company officials said the new facility would create 200 green collar jobs within three years, with the first round of new hires receiving a starting wage of $44,236 annually. The company hopes to begin rolling Newtons out of the new Kansas City plant by the third quarter of 2009.