Smart Fortwo electric drive now on sale

June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Production of the new Smart Fortwo electric drive has begun this week in Hambach, France, and sales have started in Germany. This is effectively the third-generation version of this EV, though the first for mainstream sale; earlier production runs were in small numbers only for field trials and testing. The electric drive is now also built alongside its conventionally-engined sister models on the same production lines.
“For the first time we have realised the consistent and perfectly integrated production of models with electric drive and those with combustion engines”, says factory chief Dr Joachim Betker. “In production, we are now optimally utilising the Smart vehicle concept’s imminent potential for different drive systems.”

Daimler has invested over €200 million to upgrade and expand the Hambach plant. “With the new Smart electric drive we are further expanding our leading position in urban mobility and making fully electric driving accessible to everyone”, says Dr Annette Winkler, brand Head. “For this – and for the successor generation to the current Smart – we are making significant investments in the Hambach site. And I am convinced that this is money extremely well-invested.

“The new smart electric drive and the expansion of the Hambach plant are two important milestones for the future of Smart”, she added.

The Fortwo electric drive will be offered as a coupe or a cabriolet. It features a 55kW (74bhp) motor and a 17.6kWh battery, promising a range of 145km (about 90 miles) in city traffic and acceleration 0-60kph (0-37mph) in 4.8 seconds. Top speed is 77mph. The new motor is supplied by Bosch and the battery by Evonik, now making the car all-European.

Prices in Germany start from €23,680 (coupe) and €26,770 (cabriolet) all-in, but Smart is also offering the ‘sale&care’ option of buying, financing or leasing the car with a separate per-month fee for battery rental. This puts the vehicle purchase at €18,910 (coupe) and €22,000 (cabriolet), with battery rent €65 a month. Prices and options for other markets, including the UK, have not yet been announced.

In other news today:

  • BMW opened its Apple-like i Store in Park Lane, London, which will showcase its i-range and services. It’s to offer its own in-house EV chargers, a full service and support scheme, mobility packages including rental of conventional BMWs, access to public chargers and selection of green electricity tariffs, and sales will be directly-contracted from BMW rather than through its franchises. On show at the Store were models including a nearer-production i3 and the Pedelec folding e-bike, which fits neatly into the i3’s boot.
  • The Bluebird team has unveiled its GTL Formula-E electric racer. It’s hoping to be one of the four manufacturers chosen to supply vehicles to the FIA series, which will kick off in 2014. More at The Charging Point.
  • “America’s love affair with the motor car is running on empty”  – says the Guardian. Discuss…
  • It’s official: diesel exhaust fumes do cause cancer, the World Health Organisation has finally decided. More here. But non-exhaust particulates – brake dust, tyre dust etc – could contribute 90% of traffic emissions by the end of the decade, according to a new British report.
  • Ford’s 999cc three-cylinder, turbocharged EcoBoost engine has won the International Engine of the Year award. Full story at Engine Technology International.
  • National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the new owners of Saab backed by Japanese and Hong Kong investors, aims to have a 9-3-based EV in production by early 2014, reports Automotive  News Europe. NEVS has the rights to the 9-3 and new ‘Phoenix’ platform, but not the 9-5 and 9-4x, reports Autocar. The new car is likely to be developed from the 9-3 ePower concept.

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