Smith Electric Vehicles is to supply Marks & Spencer with zero-emission 7.5-tonne delivery vehicles.

The Smith Newton is the first-ever vehicle in its class that can compete with the diesel equivalent, says the company, but it comes without the polluting effects of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and CO2 emissions. Marks & Spencer will deploy Newton electric vehicles in various city centre logistics operations, with a view to replacing its urban diesel fleet where possible.

Ian Mumby, head of food logistics and supply chain at Marks & Spencer, said: "We are delighted to be one of the first major companies in the UK to explore the opportunities zero-emission vehicles bring. The Newton electric vehicle is not only environmentally friendly but cost-effective and its quietness makes it perfect for deliveries in residential areas."

Starbucks has also teamed up with Smith Electric Vehicles and TNT, the mail and logistics operator. It is trialling the new zero-emission 7.5-tonne delivery truck for deliveries to Starbucks’ London stores.

TNT, the logistics operator working with Allied Bakeries, has indicated that it could require up to 400 Newton vehicles for the UK. Peter Bakker, TNT chief executive officer, said: "We have every confidence in the technology and, if everything goes to plan, it could well pave the way for many more similar vehicles for TNT throughout the world."

The vehicles are exempt from the London congestion charge. They incur no road tax and are battery-driven.