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Smith Leads Charge to Better Electric Vehicles with 120 Mile Range

Smith EV

Smith EV

WORLD-first technology that will increase electric vehicle range by up to 20% is to be developed in North East England.

Smith Electric Vehicles is working on a new ultra-efficient electric drive line, along with smarter, more energy efficient ancillary systems, such as heating and air conditioning. Combining all these elements together, Smith’s engineers believe they can improve the range of its electric vans by up to 20 miles on a full battery charge. Current maximum range is around 100 miles for urban operations.

Darren Kell, CEO of The Tanfield Group Plc, which owns Smith Electric Vehicles, said:

“This is the first time any company has taken on the development of better auxiliary systems for electric vehicles. We are undertaking pioneering work that has the potential to deliver range-extending capabilities suited to all passenger and commercial electric vehicles.”

Tanfield is part of a consortium that has secured £1.4m in matched funding towards the project, under the UK Government’s Ultra Efficient Systems programme, administered by the Technology Strategy Board.

The £2.8m investment will fund the development of three sub-systems and integrate them all into the Smith Edison, a pure electric version of the Ford Transit van produced in collaboration with Ford of Europe. However Tanfield believes there is substantial crossover potential for the auxiliary systems, into other electric cars, vans and trucks.

The primary objectives are to optimise drive train efficiency while also reducing parasitic losses and taking out weight. The core of the project is a new high efficiency motor, coupled with smart two-speed transmission and managed by a central vehicle systems controller.

The second phase will involve engineers developing the world’s first auxiliary systems designed specifically for electric vehicles – until now, EV manufacturers have adopted solutions from internal combustion engine vehicles, which are less energy efficient, heavier and poorly packaged. Smith’s new high voltage systems for air conditioning, power steering and heating will reduce drain on the traction batteries, thereby extending the vehicle’s range on a single charge.

The third element of the programme is to develop a smart central controller that co-ordinates all the vehicle’s systems.

Darren Kell said: “This development will maintain our position as a world leader in electric vehicle technology – and the translatable nature of the systems also offers us a substantial export opportunity.”

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