Saluting the Smith Newton: U.S. Marine Corps Goes Electric

In a recent article, TreeHugger reported that Camp Pendleton, the U.S. Marine Corps’ training facility, will be receiving a new delivery in February…from Smith Electric! The USMC recently purchased two electric Newton trucks from the company and plans to use them to carry equipment and personnel on the base. Although the trucks may not be ready for combat just yet, they do carry up to eight tons of cargo and can go as far as 100 miles on a single charge. The trucks are fuel-emission free, making them an excellent start for the USMC’s goal to increase reliance on renewable electrical energy to 25 percent by 2025.

Photo: Smith Electric

While the purchase of the Newtons marks a milestone in the Marine Corps’ green initiative, it is not the first organization to use the Newton. In fact, the trucks have been used by a number of major companies carrying snack chips, soft drinks, and office supplies through the streets of New York City for a few months now. With all of the buzz around electric cars hitting the market in the near future, some people seem to be forgetting that electric vehicles are already traveling the streets today!

Delivery trucks have a set-route, often times less than 30 miles long and do not use the freeway, making them the perfect candidate to go electric. “The performance, infrastructure and availability issues that plague electric car and light-truck models don’t cross over to their commercial counterparts,” said Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric. It will be interesting to see if the USMC will purchase more Newtons in the future, but if it does, it may need to wait in line. Hansel says its trucks are back-ordered until the second quarter of next year.

This demand for the trucks doesn’t come as a big surprise, especially since the U.S. government is putting fuel-economy standards in place for commercial vehicles that go into effect in 2015.

What other industries or organizations do you think can benefit from electric vehicle technology? Let us know in the comments section below!