THE world’s largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles has appointed a distributor for Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Smith Electric Vehicles is working in partnership with Northern Lights Energy (NLE) to grow the Icelandic market for electric vans and trucks. Investment company NLE has a portfolio of environmental and renewable energy projects, including a wholly-owned electric vehicle dealership, specialising in the sale and support of EVs, which opens in early 2011.

Sturla Sighvatsson, Managing Director of NLE, said: “The vehicles from Smith Electric are an important addition to our growing portfolio of EVs. The long term benefits of using electric vehicles in Iceland are clear. Today marks an historic milestone in our strategy to make Iceland the global leader in EV adoption.”

NLE, through its subsidiary EVEN, has initiated the Icelandic National EV Project, committed to the swift development of the domestic electric vehicle market.

The project involves stakeholders including major municipalities and many of Iceland’s largest and most influential companies, in a national consortium.

Its goals are to build a national charging infrastructure and accelerate the transition to EVs that make use of Iceland’s abundant renewable energy resources, rather than foreign oil imports.

Sturla added: “We believe our collaboration with Smith Electric is an important step on our journey to end Iceland’s dependence on foreign oil for domestic transportation.

“The Icelandic commercial sector is a major consumer of foreign oil, but as of now, responsible fleet operators have a clear choice to go towards zero emission vehicles. Smith Electric Vehicles has a proven track record and is a leader in its field, producing practical vehicles that can really solve today’s transport issues.”

Smith Electric Vehicles produces the Smith Edison light commercial vehicle in 18 configurations, plus six variants of an all-electric minibus. Both are based on the Ford Transit platform, with a range of up to 100 miles (160km) on a single charge, recharge time from as little as three hours and a top speed of 50mph (80km/h).

The Smith Newton electric goods vehicle is available in 16 models, with 7.5t, 10t and 12t chassis configurations. The truck has a range of up to 120 miles (190km) on a single charge, recharge time from six hours and a top speed of 50mph (80km/h).

NLE will take delivery of its first Smith Electric vehicles in early 2011. These demonstration vehicles will go straight into trials with major fleet operators.

Kevin Harkin, Sales Director for Smith Electric Vehicles: said: “Electric commercial vehicles make perfect operational and economic sense for Iceland.

The island’s commercial fleet is almost wholly engaged in low mileage operations, while the high price of foreign oil imports means electric vehicles can deliver substantial whole life cost savings.”

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