OVERLAND PARK, KS – Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corp. (SEV U.S. Corp), a Delaware corporation temporarily headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., announced plans to assemble and market all-electric, zero-emission commercial vehicles in North America.

SEV U.S. Corp will initially focus its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based route delivery fleets. The company said it has already drawn strong interest from fleet operators. As a result, SEV U.S. Corp. is building a highly scalable assembly operation and supply chain to serve this emerging market. The company will soon announce a site for its production facility. SEV U.S. Corp will begin production using chassis from multiple vehicle manufacturers.

"We are targeting our zero-emission trucks for companies that operate in urban areas and are seeking ways to deliver their goods and services in an environmentally sensitive manner," said Bryan Hansel, CEO of SEV U.S. Corp. "These vehicles will not only help companies reduce their truck fleet emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports, but will also lower operation and maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle."

Through its U.K. partner, the Tanfield Group Plc, SEV U.S. Corp is working with Ford Motor Co. to electrify the Ford Transit Connect as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) light-duty van scheduled for production in 2010.

Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of product development, said: "Our collaboration with SEV U.S. Corp will result in the first battery-electric vehicle in Ford's North American electrification strategy. We know a growing number of our fleet clients have expressed interest in electrification as a sustainable mobility solution. Offering a family of electrified vehicles is a next logical step for us in our product portfolio."

SEV U.S. Corp is a privately held company and is owned by U.S. investors and the Tanfield Group Plc, based in the United Kingdom. Tanfield is also the parent company of Smith Electric Vehicles, a leading manufacturer of zero-emission battery-electric commercial vehicles in Europe since the 1920s. Smith has produced the Newton truck in Europe for more than three years and has sold vehicles to major fleet operators in sectors such as mail and parcel delivery, logistics, retail, highway maintenance and airports.