Smart ED Becomes First Nationwide Electric Car
In January, Smart started delivering the electric versions of its two-seater microcar, and its management predicts that the Smart ED will be the first factory electric seen in many communities. Rather than the regional rollouts being underway by Nissan with the Nissan LEAF and by Chevrolet with the Chevy Volt, Smart offered the Smart ForTwo ED to all 77 of its dealers.
"The majority (of dealers) have taken at least one," Smart Director of Communications Rick Bourgoise told PluginCars.com. Smart will build 250 of what it terms the second generation electric Smart. They will be available on a four-year lease for $599/month with $2,500 down. That model will be followed by the third generation model in 2012.
The current model uses lithium ion batteries developed by Tesla, but Daimler plans to use its own battery in the new version—which will be produced in higher volumes and available for sale or lease. In addition, anyone leasing the current Smart ED will be able to upgrade to the new version in 2012 with no change in lease terms.
Bourgoise explained that because all Smart dealers can opt to lease the current Smart ED, it may be the first factory electric vehicle see in some markets, such as Milwaukee, Wisc.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Jacksonville, Fla. Smart provides a map (see "Dealer Map") on its website showing which dealers currently have or will have the electric Smart.
The Smart ED is also the only available electric car, besides the Tesla Roadster, that is offered as a coupe or a cabriolet— a convertible power soft top with a heated glass rear window.
The gas-powered 2011 Smart ForTwo models are also getting some attention this year. For the first time this year, models will have the option of cruise control and navigation, and will now feature eight airbags (six on the cabriolet model). For the near future, the company is also working jointly with Nissan on a four-seat, five-door hatchback Smart model that will land in the U.S. before the end of this year. That car will feature a manual as well as Smart's current automatic transmission. A second line of products is also being developed jointly between Daimler and Nissan-Renault and could arrive mid-decade.
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