Smith Electric Vehicles aims to distribute its all-electric vehicles across Taiwan, opening up important new market for the business, which was originally founded in Gateshead more than 90 years ago.
The firm, now headquartered in Kansas, US, with an assembly factory in Washington employing some 200 people, has announced it has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Taikang Technology Corporation in Taiwan, a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer, to assemble and distribute electric vehicles in the Asian country.
Taikang has been working closely with a number of Taiwanese government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on transforming its fleet of refuse trucks to all-electric, making the corporation an excellent local partner for Smith Electric.
During the first three years, some 5,000 vehicles will be produced for use within transport and as rubbish collection trucks, transforming Taiwan’s current municipal fleet of municipal garbage trucks, and a new manufacturing plant is set to be built in Taiwan, creating a number of new jobs over several years.
Smith Electric will have the sole sourcing and procurement rights for its Smith Drive, Smith Power, and Smith Link components.
“This is another significant milestone for Smith. With this letter of intent, we are eager to complete our first-ever licensee agreement for the company,” said Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer of Smith Electric.
Smith Electric, 24% owned by Washington-based aerial platform manufacturer Tanfield, believes that short haul urban transport is the current greatest market opportunity for electric vehicles, a market which is driven by Smith Electric’s customers recognition of the significant economic and environmental benefits.
Customers who work with Smith Electric to transform their fleets save an estimated 70% annually on fuel and maintenance during the life of the vehicle and eliminate all vehicle-based emissions. Across a large fleet this can mean millions of pounds in savings, hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel offset, and sparing the air of tens of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases.
The North East was the first UK region to have a comprehensive network of electric vehicle charging points but Smith Electric intends to expand overseas as electrified fleets grow in popularity.
Hansel added: “Smith Electric plans more licensee agreements to support its long-term global growth strategy to meet growing demand for fleet transformation through electrification around the world.”
With this letter of intent, we are eager to complete our first-ever licensee agreement for the company