A NORTH-EAST electric vehicle company is to supply almost 70 per cent of the vans for a Government project, it has been confirmed Orders are now finalised for phase one of the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP), which aims to stimulate public procurement of electric light commercial vehicles.

Smith Electric Vehicles, based at Washington, Wearside, is one of three companies involved and is delivering 47 out of the 70 electric vans in the programme.

Customers choosing the Smith Edison in phase one include Royal Mail, Transport for London, Warwick University, and a number of local authorities around the country including Gateshead and Newcastle.

Based on the Ford Transit, the Smith Edison is the world’s best-selling electric light commercial vehicle and can typically achieve 80 miles on a full charge.

Phase one of LCVPP offers subsidies to public sector bodies, giving them the chance to purchase electric and hybrid vans at the same price as the equivalent diesel vehicles.

Smith’s success comes as the region gears up to be a world hub for electric vehicle technology and design having last month won the contract to build the Leaf electric car at Nissan’s Sunderland plant.

The North-East will also be home to probably the most advanced battery manufacturing plant in Europe; is the UK’s low-carbon economic area for low-carbon vehicles; is building an £8.4m national Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing; and is developing an open access test track with more than 1,300 electric vehicle charging points.