Life & Culture

Electric motor could drive down cost of truck market


He is a former Israeli naval officer who defended the state for six years from the backroom of an electric-motored submarine.

Now Asher Bennett, whose brother is Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, founded a UK company based on his experience in the Israeli Navy.

Last year he set up the electric truck company, Teva Motors, that employs a hybrid electric-diesel system inspired by the non-nuclear submarines.

“The submarines, like our trucks, run on an electric battery. If it is low on charge, a diesel extended system will motor the electric battery,” explains Bennett, chief executive of Teva Motors.

“Unlike other electric vehicles, there are no range limitations with this system.”

Bennett believes that Essex-based Teva Motors, the first Israeli company to receive a UK government entrepreneur visa, will revolutionise the commercial truck delivery market.

This month the company received a close on £500,000 investment from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to develop the prototype trucks.

He says: “Israel is strong in technology, but not in the auto-motors sector.

“The UK has strong engineering expertise, so this is a great place for us to be.”

The company’s trucks, which cost around £40,000 each, are motored by an electric battery for up to 100 miles. If the battery is low, the truck system will automatically switch to its 7.5 tonne Diesel Range Extended Electric Truck system, which will drive the electric motor.

The more eco-friendly low emission system could save large and medium-sized delivery companies — from supermarkets to package couriers — money while reducing their carbon footprint.

Though many alternative vehicle companies promote their system on its “green” merits, but Bennett is more pragmatic. “Customers are happy to go green, as long as it doesn’t cost them more,” he says.

British manufacturing paint company Carrs Coating has signed a three-year contract to buy three Teva trucks, which are expected to run next year.

David Roberts, chairman of Carrs Coating, said the trucks would “lower costs for our business”.

Bennett is now looking to expand the company across Europe before looking to China and the United States.

“Europe is our natural market because of the high cost of diesel fuel.

“We’re going to manufacture and gain experience in the UK, before looking to expand there,” he says.

“The market has clearly told us that electric vehicles must be operationally competitive, they must never run out of range, and they must cost less than diesel vehicles. This is what Teva Motors is delivering.”

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