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smart à la Chinoise

The CMEC smart EV knock-off. reports that little-known Chinese carmaker CMEC has announced a two-seater all-electric vehicle with a 100km (62 mile) range, designed for export to the European market. No other details are given.

Trouble is, it looks virtually identical to the current smart fortwo. Indeed, the manufacturer even brazenly calls it the “Electric City Smart.”

Another little-known Chinese carmaker, Shunghuan, has also announced a model called the S6 that bears a strong resemblance to the smart fortwo, expected to sell in China for the equivalent of €2,800-5,000 depending on options. The article does not indicate the type of drivetrain used.

These unauthorized copies do not claim to match the original in terms of technology or quality. For status-seeking consumers in the fast-emerging Chinese middle class, the point is that the vehicles look like the real deal and, that they can actually afford them.

DaimlerChrysler has indicated it will sue for all copyright and trademark infringements. However, the concept that brand identity constitutes intellectual property that needs to be protected by law is new to China. BMW, VW, Audi and Honda are cites as examples of other Western companies struggling to safeguard their own IP.

—Rafael Seidl



Cool! If they can sell that in London at Reva G-Wiz money they've got a winner. (Assuming their horrific crash-test standards have improved).


China is really good in copying, sometimes you gatta admit their ability and initiative to copy a thing... and trying to batch another name on it, is really extraordinary.

shaun mann

more details here:

Range : 100km
Shift : auto shift
Dimension: 2510x1515x1530mm
Wheel base :1800mm
Tread(front/rear) : 1235/1320mm
GVW : 1000kg
Min. ground clearance : 125mm
Passenger: 2
Min. turning radius : 3m
Max. speed : 55km/h

with styling that doesn't infringe on copyright laws, it'd be a decent competitor for the GEM-class low speed electric vehicles, which have pretty lax crash safety standards.

i wouldn't believe the claimed range for a moment. half their claim is more likely.


I don't realy see the point.
Too slow for out of town driving.
Too small for a family car or to get shopping in.
In most cities there is decent public transport.


"In most cities there is decent public transport."

Not in the UK. I take your point about speed though.


Little correction: it's "smart à la Chinoise", not "smart á la Chinoise" :)


James, it's not a family car. It's a car that can bring one of two people out for errands and to work. Not all cars are for everyone. I would love one because it would cut the cost of my fuel bills considerably, and I could easily park it in my garage. I agree that it's too slow, but not everyone lives in a BIG city, in fact most people don't live in a BIG city and therefore they don't have good public transportation. I would ride a bicycle to work, but it's 12 miles away, and would take me 1 hour and a half to get there. A complete waste of my time and energy.

hans wurst

The interior design and quality is pathetic. Nice try, though.


DaimlerChrysler could build a much better EV than any chinese startup company.

The big question is why have they chosen NOT to do it?

I say if Chrysler is too stupid to build the Smart EV and import it to the USA, they deserve to get kicked in the teeth by the chinese.

I know several Biodiesel lovers that would buy the diesel smart today if it were in the showrooms.

Quit making excuses DiamlerChrysler and start giving people a choice from gas guzzlers that you love so much.

Kyle Dansie


Richard: try an electric motorcycle. I have one that would get you to work at 55kph. Now all I need is a solar panel (and a little sunshine)

From my point of view BEVs are moving into niche markets already, faster than the big manufacturers would like. It could turn car manufacturing on its ear if the big companies are too slow to change their thinking. You don't have to be a huge company to get an EV to market because they are so much simpler and can almost be put together from parts off the shelf. The only thing that's holding them back right now is the price of batteries.


NickF, I live in the UK and I can't think of one big city Ive been to that doesn't have adaquet public transport.


acute to grave corrected.

John W.

Rexis, you are absolutely right. I had a scooter from China once when I lived in the U.S.; it had a 150cc Yamaha engine, though, it wasn't made by Yamaha! Somehow this company got the machining plans and made a knock-off, so the engine was identical in every way, except for vastly inferior quality overall. But to the average guy, esp. when brand new, they look the same engine! China should get on the ball here, you shouldn't need a law to know that's not right, but the needs are great in China so it's "sort of" understandable they do this. (none of you heard me say that.) Someone needs to sue them for copying intellectual property, such as engines. If that's possible even.

And KJD: you are also right. If Chrysler won't release their smart electric over here then they deserve to get kicked in the teeth by their competition. Competition is good for us.

Watching all the progress on EV's is making me impatient. But I hear (don't know if it's true) that Canada won't import EV's because they loose out substantial amounts of money on their high gas tax! Go figure. Isn't Canada a part of Kyoto?


John: don't know about cars ... but I'm in Canada and I have a BEV. Canada signed Kyoto and then proceeded to ignore it.



I guess it depends what you define as decent. I would define it as something like what you have in Amsterdam. I live in Brighton which apparently has good public transport. I still sometimes find it quicker to walk 5 miles home than to wait for a bus.

Gene Rubin

My guess is that in 10 years, Tesla will be the largest USA auto manufacturer. Times are changing. They will be the Apple Computers of the auto world.


My guess is that in 10 years, China will be making EVs and you will be able to buy them at WalMart.


NickF, my mate lives in Hoveactually and last time I was down that end of the country the public transport seemed fine in Brighton. And to be honest if it's not raining a five mile walk isn't so bad. Don't get me wrong, I think public transport can always be improved, the tams they have in Sheffield and Nottingham for example are great and could work in lots of other places.

anti gravity

an EV smart, the Tesla EV, mitsubishi EV, wrightspeed EV, new fast charge batterys on the way, ultra capacitor from EEstor on the way. the ICE is finished and we don't need no fool cells

Eric Plummer

I am very interested in the Chinese Car Maker CMEC. I found the story about the Electric Car very interesting. Thank you for the story. Is there any way you could tell me if this China Car Maker is on the Stock Markets somewhere and sells Shares.

Thank you and find your Newsletter very interesting.

Kindest Regards,

Eric Plummer

Harvey D.


I'm with you, but hope that WalMart will be selling small Chinese EVs within 5 years and standard size one a year or two latter. The small Chinese EV may sell for less than current large LCD (Chinese) TV, unless we impose a 300% import duty to protect the Big 3 (if they are still around) UAW members and the local OIL companies.

Wonder how far we will go to support our current Hummersor culture and Oil addiction.

It seems that we may not wake up before the atmosphere reaches over 500 ppm (CO2) and palm trees grow all over Canada.


Some say the trip to your destination can be as meaningful as getting there. If this thing is 55km/hr limited, why not make the car convertible. I've not seen a convertible electric/hybrid car, which in silly because a silent electric car would be a great cruiser to enjoy the scenery in (and not disturb people/wildlife).
Granted, it would feel like a longer time if it rains and hate every second of it. But imagine the silent peaceful cruise if there is sunshine. :)
Would be like being in a carriage (no pun intended on ride and handling of this vehicle)

In closing, convertible electric. Slow is good for taking in the sights. This is why a golf buggy is so relaxing to be in. Try it and prove me wrong.

Ian Porter

Convertibles appear on the surface to make a lot of sense as an EV. You do get rid of a weighty roof, you end up with more stiffeners in the frame (chassis) that can actually be more weight that the roof. The aerodynamics of the car are also not often as good as a car with conventional roof, so the all up power required to propell a convertible EV may actually be more than standard.


The picture of the Shuanghuan (not Shunghuan) S6:

Dimensions: 3010X1605X1600mm
Wheel base: 2025mm
Engine series: 0.8L, 1.0L, 1.3L
Power: 25.6Kw (0.8L)
Min. ground clearance: 200mm
GVW: 825Kg

The S6 is a little bigger than the Smart.


Like many here, I am pretty tired of waiting for a viable EV to be made available. I don't think it is particularly paranoid to believe that it isn't happening because there are so many big business and government interests threatened by EVs taking off. The oil companies keep sitting on automotive NiMH battery patents, the motor industry has vast interests in keeping the status quo and governments fear losing car fuel tax revenues (why do you suppose they are keen on hydrogen? - it is a taxable commodity!). Anyone who upsets these peoples apple carts and import cheap EV with a decent range gets my thumbs up.

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