Global environmental challenges
In a sign of the potential strength of the nascent electric truck market in the United States, the American division of the U.K.’s Smith Electric Vehicles has acquired its parent company.
Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. bought a majority ownership stake in its parent for $15 million from the Tanfield Group, a publicly traded company. Tanfield will retain a 49 percent ownership share of Smith.
“The board of Tanfield believes that a consolidation of the Smith Electric Vehicles U.K. entity into our associate company, SEVUS [Smith Electric Vehicles U.S.], creating a single, larger U.S. based business, would be in the best interests of shareholders, particularly in light of the plans that SEVUS management have for the combined business post this transaction,” Darren Kell, Tanfield’s chief executive, said in a statement.
While electric passenger cars such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf have captured the public imagination, replacing diesel-powered urban delivery fleets with electric vehicles may offer a bigger immediate environmental payoff. Such trucks generally travel relatively short distances and would have access to urban charging stations. And as air quality standards are tightened, pressure will grow to restrict use of heavy-duty diesel vehicles.
Today, Reuters ran a story about the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports’ aggressive plan to slash pollutants — mostly exhaust from diesel engines — that have harmed air quality and contributed to health concerns in the local communities. In implementing the plan, the ports have butted heads with some of the industries that they do business with, such as shippers, railroads and truckers.
Nevertheless, the plan is moving full steam ahead, so to speak.
During the course of reporting this story, we visited both ports to get an up-close view of some of the measures they are taking. The two videos below demonstrate two of those efforts, one at each port.