Ford Transit Connect-based Smith Ampere EV electric van

The new breed of electric vehicles is on offensive. As Ford UK tries to sell some more commercial vans by offering them in sporty colors, the Rochester-based company Amp Electric Vehicles offers a Smith Ampere EV conversion program that turns a normal oil-burner into a futuristic, zero emission electric vehicle.

While the super-EVs like, say, Tesla Roadster or the Lightning GT are simply super-exotic and expensive toys for multimillionaires and Hollywood stars, the electric-powered workhorses like the Ford Transit Connect-based Ampere commercial van will finally get us to the oil-free future. Well, I guess so.

Being built around the new Ford Transit Connect chassis, which is currently produced Ford’s plants in Turkey, the new electric van has a gross vehicle weight of 2340kg (5158 pounds) and is able to carry up to 800kg (1763 pounds) of cargo.

The Smith Ampere EV is motivated by a 50kW electric motor, which is powered by an under-slung Iron Phosphate lithium-ion battery pack. The amount of stored energy is enough to propel the van to a top speed of 70mph (112 km/h) and let it travel more than 100 miles (160 km) on a single charge.

Ford Transit Connect-based Smith Ampere EV electric van
Smith Ampere EV electric van

Sounds impressive, but guys from the U.S.-based Smith Electric Vehicles will have to work hard to triple, or even quadruple the maximum range of the vehicle before it becomes really viable. I mean, a friend of mine owns a Ford Transit van and he usually drives about 200 miles a day delivering goods to different customers.

However, the American company feels itself quite comfortable with the vehicle’s actual range. It plans to start producing the Ampere van later this year and will sell them on the European market.

There is a good chance that sometime next year Smith Electric Vehicles will start produced a new version of the Ampere designed specifically for the North American market.

Photos: Smith Electric Vehicles

See also: Euro-spec 2011 Ford Ranger truck unveiled