Electric van designed to carry 3,000 lbs

Emerald Automotive recently unveiled its new electric delivery van, the world's first extended range electric delivery van for fleets that does not compromise payload—allowing companies to haul the same amount of product in electric vehicles that is usually hauled in conventional delivery vans.

Last year, Emerald announced plans to manufacture its custom-built electric delivery vans in Hazelwood. The $175 million plant will bring about 600 jobs to the northwest suburb of St. Louis.

"This vehicle has been specifically designed for fleet customers who drive 100 miles or more each day," says Andy Tempest, CEO of Emerald. "These customers are spending a lot of money on gas, and they have requested an electric vehicle that won't compromise on payload."

With its 3,000 lb capacity, the Emerald t-001 will be similar to a traditional delivery van, but with a 60-mile range in electric mode and a 400-mile range using its seven-gallon gas tank, the van will reduce emissions by up to 80 percent and cut costs for companies with large fleets. And with fewer moving parts than purely gasoline-powered vans, Emerald's hybrid electric van also will likely save on trips to the mechanic and repair costs.

"A lot of electric delivery vehicles are so heavy they can't haul much," says Gary Marble, director of sales and communication at Emerald. "We're bringing companies what they expect in a delivery vehicle, and it costs far less to operate."

Though the t-001 prototype unveiled this month was designed, built and tested in the United Kingdom, Emerald will produce the vehicle at its Hazelwood facility within the next two years. The company's goal is to build 10,000 electric vans a year for fleet customers. The company will also be targeting fleet customers in the European market.