Popular Smart Car with Tesla Lithium Batteries
The Smart Fortwo is popular with city drivers that need to avoid $25 daily parking fees by fitting in spots to small for others. In 2010, 250 battery electric Smart EDs will be put on the streets of U.S. cities. Early in 2012, Smart plans to make over 10,000 Smart Electric Drives for sales globally and be a major player in urban. The new Smart Electrics deliver an 80-mile range per charge with a 16.5kWh lithium ion battery pack that consists of 18,650 Tesla format cells. Daimler owns Smart, Mercedes, and about 5 percent of Tesla.
This week, I talked with Derek Kaufman, Vice President with smart USA and Doug Gold, Director Northwest Operations, and looked at the new Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. Battery range varies with driving conditions, so Smart estimates the range of this pure battery-electric at 84 miles per charge. In Portland, however, Derek drove the car 110 miles on one-charge, demonstrating that he has good driving skills. Both gave me details of the new car included in this report.
With only 16.5 kWh of lithium batteries, the Smart ED has about the same range as thewith 24 kWh because the Smart weighs only about 2,000 pounds. With 50 percent less weight than Nissan, the car needs less batteries. This gives room for Smart to under price Nissan. Smart ED pricing has not been announced.
2010 United States Demonstration
This year, 250 smart electric cars will be put on the road in these U.S. geographies:
The pilot may be implemented as a 4-year lease, primarily to fleets, for about $600 per month. The pilot program will include electric utility partnerships, such as Duke Energy in Indianapolis. The 250 electric cars for the U.S. in 2010, is part of a 1,000 to 1,500 pilot globally.
In 2012 Smart Electric Drive to be Leased and Sold in Volume
In 2012, Smart will start making over 10,000 electric cars annually. If it succeeds as expected, the numbers could grow substantially in future years.
In a battle for urban parking spaces, the Smart Electric Drive will face serious competition from Toyota and Mitsubishi with their micro-compact electric cars. Market share will be fought with price and lease options.
The 2012 Toyota FT-EV will be commercially available before the 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, but the FT-EV will have less range at about 50 miles per charge. Toyota will have a 70 mile per hour speed maximum, higher than advertised 62 mph for the Smart.
Electric Car Sharing
Daimler is now competing with Zipcar for long-term leadership in car sharing. In Austin, Texas, 500 Smart Fortwo gasoline cars are used by the day, the hour, or the minute. Uniquely, car share members can drive the car from one point and leave it at another. Daimler plans to expand the service nationwide and to include the new Smart Fortwo Electric Drive in the program. In Europe, Car2Go has piloted the Smart ED. In future years, the Electric will be included for U.S. Car2Go members. Daimler Car2Go Report
Electric Drive Specs