As of today, buyers in Germany will be able to order the new, third-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive in either coupe or cabriolet versions. The all-electric models started production in late 2009. What's interesting is that the all-electric coupe will be available for either 18,910 euros ($23,625 U.S. at today's exchange rates) plus a 65-euro-a-month ($81) battery lease or you can flat out buy the car for 23,680 euros ($29,586). The cabrio models cost 22,000 euros ($27,486) with the lease or 26,770 euros ($33,446) outright. The car will go on sale in over 30 other markets later.

Readers with good memories will note that these numbers are higher than expected. Originally, after all, Smart head Annette Winkler said the car would cost a lot less. Last September, she said, "We are offering the new electric smart within our sale&care model for considerably less than EUR 16,000 before tax – plus less than EUR 60 per month for battery rental." That would be $19,990 and $75, respectively. Even with the 19 percent VAT factored in, that would have come to 19,040 euros ($23,788). Along with the higher price, some of the performance numbers have gone up as well, compared to what was previously announced. The third-gen electric Smart has a 30-kW (55-kW peak) electric motor that can now push the little car to above 120 kilometers an hour (75 miles per hour) and deliver a 0-60 time of just 4.8 seconds. The 17.6-kWh battery offers a range estimated at 90 miles. Also, we had heard that he launch of the third version of the ED had been pushed back to the fall of 2012, so today's announcement that the car is now available is welcome news.

*UPDATE: Hybrid Cars is reporting that the Smart ED will cost $26,990 (coupe) or $29,990 (cabriolet) in Canada. There is no mention of battery leasing.
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Start of Production and Sales of the New smart fortwo electric drive

Hambach, France, Jun 12, 2012

smart plant in Hambach, France, all set for the future

Investments of more than €200 million in the site

Starting signal: smart fortwo electric drive available for order in Germany on June 12

Dr. Annette Winkler: "The new smart electric drive and the expansion of the Hambach plant are two important milestones for the future of smart."


Hambach, France – Daimler AG started production of the new smart fortwo electric drive at the smart Hambach plant. Like the models with combustion engines, the electric vehicle is now rolling off the production line in the standardised production process. Furthermore, Daimler invests more than €200 million to upgrade the site and secure its future.

"The new smart electric drive and the expansion of the Hambach plant are two important milestones for the future of smart", said Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "With the new smart electric drive we are further expanding our leading position in urban mobility and making fully electric driving accessible to everyone. 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."

Dr. Joachim Betker, Head of the smart plant in Hambach, emphasised the ground-breaking integration of the electric version in the production process: "For the first time we have realised the consistent and perfectly integrated production of models with electric drive and those with combustion engines. In production, we are now optimally utilising the smart vehicle concept's immanent potential for different drive systems."

Goodbye, filling stations – the new smart fortwo electric drive

12 June 2012 – this date marks the start of sales* for the first real alternative to the usual refuelling stops. With the launch of the new smart fortwo electric drive, in future smart customers can enjoy even more fun at the wheel of an attractively priced vehicle that has the familiar compact dimensions - as a coupé or a cabriolet. The most important feature distinguishing it from its siblings with conventional engines is the fact that it has no exhaust, which means that it does not produce any emissions on the road.

With its 55kW electric motor the smart fortwo electric drive accelerates from 0 - 60 km/h in 4.8 seconds, and with a maximum speed of 125 km/h driving pleasure is also guaranteed on urban motorways. The 17.6 kWh battery enables the urban two-seater to travel approximately 145 kilometres in city traffic without producing any local emissions. As those components each come from joint ventures with the German companies Bosch (EM-motive) and Evonik (Deutsche ACCUmotive) and as the vehicle is built in the plant in Hambach (France), the new smart fortwo electric drive is the first true European electric car.

The new sale&care model makes opting into electric mobility particularly attractive: it offers customers an opportunity to buy, finance or lease the vehicle at an attractive price and to rent the battery for a monthly fee. Purchase, financing or leasing of the vehicle including the battery is also possible.

Prices in Germany (including 19% VAT):

sale&care
Coupé
Cabrio
smart fortwo electric drive
18.910,00 €
22.000,00 €
Battery-rent
65,00 €/month


Vehicle including battery
Coupé
Cabrio
smart fortwo electric drive
23.680,00 €
26.770,00 €


Delivery in Germany starts in late summer, all other markets - a total of more than 30 - will follow successively.

*may vary in individual markets

Significant investments in expansion and modifications

The company is making significant investments in the plant to secure its future. The total investments for the expansion and modification of the plant plus preparatory measures for the successor series to the current smart exceed €200 million. The largest individual project with a total investment of more than €50 million is the new paint shop where an environmentally-friendly liquid painting process that meets the current Daimler Group standard for passenger car plants will replace the present powder painting process. The new paint shop will thus greatly expand the variety of paint colours that can be realised, which means that in future smart customers will also be able to choose the colour of the tridion safety cell of their smart from all available paint finishes.

A success story: the smart plant in Hambach

The smart plant in Hambach was inaugurated in 1997 and has produced the smart fortwo since 1998 – in its second generation since 2007. In 2011 more than 103,000 vehicles rolled off the production line. Approximately 1,500 people work at the site, consisting of about 800 employees at the plant itself and a further 700 at the seven local system partners. The one millionth smart fortwo was built in September 2008, coinciding with the tenth birthday of the brand. To date more than 1.3 million vehicles have left the plant.

The plant in Lorraine has always stood for an innovative production concept. The assembly line has the shape of a "plus" symbol to enable it to optimally meet assembly and logistics requirements, ensuring highly efficient production processes. This principle enables system partners and suppliers to deliver modules right to the assembly line. Transport and logistics are therefore reduced to a minimum – an advantage not least also in ecological terms. In addition, the construction principle of the vehicle and a modern energy concept ensure that the smart brand's ecological product responsibility is translated into the production: For example, smartville has its own thermal power station that produces heat for the plant and covers approximately 25 per cent of its demand for electricity. In the site's sewage treatment plant, the wastewater is immediately treated at its origin, using a membrane filter system. The quality of the treated wastewater is superior to the quality of the natural waters it is discharged into.