SEVUS finalises electric vehicle buyout

By Maria Hadlow29 December 2010

Smith Electric Vehicles and Altec unveil America's first all-electric, utility truck mounted aerial

Smith Electric Vehicles and Altec unveil America's first all-electric, utility truck mounted aerial platform.

SEVUS (Smith Electric Vehicles US) is ready to finalise the purchase of its United Kingdom-based parent company, Smith Electric Vehicles (UK). The company believes that this will make it the world's largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles.

Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of Smith Electric US said, "This sale signals a bright future for the electric commercial vehicle industry. Being in a position to unify Smith's divisions after less than two years of operating in the United States is evidence that the market for affordable, sustainable commercial fleets is fertile. The unification of Smith Electric Vehicles will create operational efficiencies and market synergies that will make Smith more financially sound and productive."

The $15-million sale will be effective on 1 January 2011. Smith UK's current owner, the Tanfield Group, will retain 49% equity in Smith Electric Vehicles US, however, this percentage is subject to dilution as Smith raises additional equity capital.

Smith UK has been manufacturing zero-emissions battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s. It operates a UK-wide service and support network that maintains more than 5000 vehicles for major fleet operators

In 2009 Smith Electric US licensed the technology from the Tanfield Group and began to introduce the Smith Newton to the United States. Smith Electric US is now a privately-held company owned by private investors, Tanfield, and management, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. The consolidation enhances a possible public offering of its equity securities in the United States.

The Smith Newton is said to be the world's largest electric delivery vehicle with a top speed of 55 mph and 100 mile range on a single charge. The Newton is powered exclusively by battery, is designed to run without noise or vibration, and stores electric energy during stopping through a process called regenerative braking. It is suitable for depot-based commercial vehicles, Smith Electric says it offers good range, minimal maintenance and service fees, and strong bottom-line savings only obtainable through these battery powered electric vehicles.

Darren Kell, chief executive officer of Tanfield said, "The board of Tanfield believes that a consolidation of the Smith Electric Vehicles UK entity into our associate company, SEVUS, creating a single, larger US based business, would be in the best interests of shareholders, particularly in light of the plans that SEVUS management have for the combined business post this transaction."

Following the sale, Smith Electric Vehicles plans to continue to develop emerging-technology electric vans and trucks with enhancing performance, speed and range capabilities.

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