UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton (center) was joined by Vice Chancellor Robert Simmons (right) and Smith Electric Vehicles CEO Bryan Hansel (left) for a press conference to unveil the university's first all-electric cargo truck.

Sustainability in motion

UMKC is first U.S. university to operate zero-emission cargo truck on campus

As part of our growing commitment to sustainability, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) has announced the purchase of our first eco-friendly all-electric truck. The addition of the Smith Electric Vehicles Newton truck to the university's transportation fleet makes UMKC the first university in the nation to operate a mid-size all-electric vehicle on its campus. The truck will be used primarily to service UMKC's recycling programs on the Volker and Hospital Hill campuses.

Representatives from UMKC and Smith Electric were joined by members of the community to officially unveil the truck at a news conference on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, at the University Center.

"As an institution of higher learning, we are well versed in our duties and responsibilities to our students and our community," said Leo E. Morton, UMKC Chancellor. "This is a chance for us to teach by example. Real learning can take place anywhere, and here and now we are acting on our commitment to recycle, restore and reuse. Use of the recycling bins scattered around our campus have been so successful that it makes perfect sense to use an environmentally sensitive vehicle to round up those recyclables."

The university purchased the truck with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Initiative. In addition to cost savings, the electric truck is a significant first step toward decreasing the University's transportation fleet carbon emissions while reducing noise around campus and surrounding neighborhoods. With only five moving parts, the Smith Newton truck operates in near silence.

The Newton truck is powered by the latest Lithium-Ion batteries and a 120kw electric motor, has a top speed of 55 mph (80km) and a range in excess of 100 miles (160km) on a full charge. It is designed to operate at peak effectiveness in urban environments that demand heavy stop-and-go driving. A single overnight charge provides more than enough range for UMKC's daily metro-area pick-up and delivery routes. The Newton truck was launched in the UK by Smith Electric Vehicles in 2006. It is produced in North America by Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation, based in Kansas City, Mo.

"We're proud to be a part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City's effort to cut its operating costs while creating a greener recycling program," said Smith Electric CEO Bryan Hansel. "UMKC is leading the way as universities across the country look for diesel alternatives that make their operations more environmentally-friendly and financially-efficient."

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"This is a chance for us to teach by example. Real learning can take place anywhere, and here and now we are acting on our commitment to recycle, restore and reuse."

Leo E. Morton
UMKC Chancellor