Smart Electric Drive News
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The mere fact that a car can use grid-supplied energy no longer grabs headlines the way it did just a few years ago. Nonetheless, notable plug-ins from Hyundai, Honda, Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes could be found in Detroit.
Expanding on a New York Times review, the Chevy Spark, Smart ED and Fiat 500e have strong under-35 buyer appeal.
In June, we took our first 30-minute drive of the 2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. We quickly saw that the tiny two-seat city car was a vast improvement over Smart’s previous all-electric versions. It appeared to be the first all-electric Smart to truly measure up to life in a busy modern city. Now, at the end of a week-long drive, we’re ready to share what it’s like actually living with the two-seat plug-in on a daily basis.
If you’re in the market for a city-friendly small electric car that’s also at home on the freeway, the two-seat Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is about as diminutive as you can get. And now about as inexpensive as can be: it’s available to lease for $139 per month with $1,999 down.
Smart's battery rental program has proved wildly popular in Europe. In the U.S., it will drop the Smart Electric Drive's purchase price to $20,650, before the federal tax credit.
Mercedes-Benz is the first to admit that the first and second generation of all-electric Smart ForTwos—built as prototypes rather than mass-produced models—were not up to par. So Mercedes Benz went back to the drawing board for its third-generation Smart ForTwo ED. With a new motor, battery pack, and power electronics, the 2013 Smart ForTwo ED is the small electric car Mercedes-Benz should have made in the first place.
In San Francisco, the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) had talked with the car sharing company Car2Go about operating the Smart Car service in the city, but the MTA had concerns over parking issues the company required.
Smart’s display was the most EV-centric at the 2013 Detroit auto show. Four Smart Electric drives were on view and most of the area was decorated with information on the new version of the Electric Drive. I spoke with Tracy Matura, Smart general manager, and Heiko Schmidt, Smart's product manager. They were both very optimistic about this next generation Electric Drive.
With more than 1,000 units out the door, Smart's production site in the French town of Hambach is now ready to ramp up production to meet high demand worldwide for its 2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. The 2013 ForTwo ED is scheduled to go on sale in the United States in spring 2013.
When it launches in spring 2013, the completely overhauled Smart ForTwo Electric Drive will become America's cheapest electric vehicle offered for sale by a mainstream automaker. Available for an after-rebate price of only $17,500, the 2913 ForTwo ED could win over new EV buyers.