That's one really small car for China, one giant leap for a European electric-vehicle maker. In this case, the EV in question is the all-electric Smart Fortwo ED and the automaker is the German company Daimler which is taking up a position as the first European automaker to start selling an EV in China. Daimler's Smart unit trumpeted the EV's sales at the Guangzhou Motor Show, calling the model "the clear market leader in Germany." The Fortwo ED accounts for about 40 percent of all EV sales in Germany, according to Smart.

Smart says the Fortwo ED is perfect for larger Chinese cities, with its short wheelbase, its 74-horsepower electric motor, 78-mile-per-hour top speed and single-charge range of about 90 miles. Daimler sells the Fortwo in many countries around the world, including Russia, Italy and, starting earlier this year, the US. Since then, the model has been moving about 120 units a month in the States.

Daimler is making a play for an even larger slice of China's battery-powered automotive sales. Denza, the company's collaboration with China-based BYD, will start sales of the Denza EV in China next summer, with a production version of the model scheduled to debut at the Beijing Motor Show next April. Check out Smart's press release below.
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smart electric drive arrives on the streets of China

Stuttgart, Nov 21, 2013

smart becomes the first European importer to bring an all-electric vehicle to the Chinese market

Following on from Europe, the USA, Canada and Japan, the electric smart reaches its 14th market with its launch in China

With a market share of around 40 percent, the smart fortwo electric drive is the frontrunner in Germany

The new smart fortwo electric drive is now available to buy from dealerships in China. The smart brand celebrated this market launch at the Guangzhou Motor Show, where the all-electric city runabout was presented to the Chinese public.

Dr Annette Winkler, Head of smart: "Our smart electric drive was one of the first all-electric cars and is the clear market leader in Germany. We are now bringing this successful vehicle to China, and are the first European manufacturer to launch an all-electric car on this market. Offering powerful driving pleasure with zero local emissions, the smart electric drive is perfectly suited to China's big cities."

With this market introduction in China smart is further extending its leading position in the urban mobility sector. The new generation smart electric drive has been available in Europe, the USA, Canada and Japan since production began in 2012. In Germany the electric smart quickly became the number one battery-powered electric vehicle, securing a market share of around 40 percent. Roughly 93 percent of customers would recommend the smart electric drive.

Urban mobility without any local emissions
Emission-free motoring with an extra dose of driving pleasure – this can only be the smart electric drive. And it's all down to its powerful drive technology: thanks to the 55 kW electric motor, delivering 130 Newton metres of torque, the car is impressively quick off the lights and goes from 0 to 60 km/h in 4.8 seconds. Plus, with a top speed of 125 km/h, the two-seater doesn't have to shy away from urban expressways. A lithium-ion battery with 17.6 kWh provides enough energy to cover a range of 145 kilometres.

The electric smart is European through and through: the battery is produced by Deutsche ACCUmotive (a Daimler joint venture with Evonik), the electric motor comes from EM-motive (a Daimler joint venture with Bosch) and the vehicle itself is manufactured in the Hambach smart factory in France.

smart is now represented in 46 markets worldwide with the brand most recently introduced in Russia. Alongside Germany and Italy, China is one of the main sales markets for smart, with sales there increasing by 43.8 percent in 2012. As the world's largest automotive market today already, China will also play a pivotal role in boosting market penetration of alternative drive systems thanks to the supportive environment created by the Chinese Government. Experts expect that China could become the world's largest market for these vehicles as well.