The diminutive Daimler EV is now rolling off the Hambach production line
By Farah Alkhalisi on June 14, 2012 10:24 AM
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 90 miles in city traffic, a top speed of 77mph and acceleration 0-37mph in 4.8 seconds – a significant improvement over the version we drove back in May 2011. 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.
Smart recently announced its electric escooter will be on the market in 2014, while the Smart ebike electrically assisted bicycle has now been launched and can be purchased through Smart retailers.