Kansas City, Mo.-based Smith Electric Vehicles has delivered the first of four all-electric Smith Newton trucks to Lee's Summit R-7 school district
, the first school district in the U.S. to operate an all-electric delivery fleet, Smith says.

"We are tremendously excited to be a part of this groundbreaking effort to help R-7 school district save money and reduce carbon emissions," said Bryan Hansel, Smith Electric CEO. "I want to applaud the R-7 school district for having the vision to be the first school district in America to acquire an all-electric service fleet."

The electric fleet effort is part of the district's emphasis on cost containment as well as environmentally friendly initiatives.

"The Smith Newton will greatly improve not only our local economy, but also our district's bottom line," said Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent. "By transitioning to an all-electric fleet, we will have more resources to devote to our children's education."

This past school year, the district's fuel expenses for the distribution fleet averaged $2.25 per gallon. For this upcoming school year, the district estimates the fuel cost to operate the electric fleet at the equivalent of 11 to 15 cents per gallon, by converting the cost of electric power to the cost of diesel.

The electric trucks will also decrease the school fleet's carbon emissions while reducing noise from the trucks within school zones and surrounding neighborhoods.

The Newton truck delivers a top speed of 50 mph and offers end users battery ranges from 50 to 120 miles on a single charge. It operates at peak effectiveness in urban applications that demand heavy stop and go driving. A single overnight charge provides enough range for most urban delivery routes.