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DaimlerChrysler Confirms Launch of smart EV

The smart fortwo ev. Inset photo is of the plug. Click to enlarge.

DaimlerChrysler will launch the smart fortwo ev in a commercial trial for the UK market at the British Motorshow in London next week. (Earlier post.) The fully electric car will be made available only for leasing to selected UK corporate customers with deliveries starting in November.

DaimlerChrysler says that it wants to do some analysis into the different applications for these cars before considering offering them for sale to the general public. The lease will cost about £370 (US$682) per month, but the final figure will depend on the mileage covered.

The drivetrain for the smart ev is produced in the UK by technology partner Zytek Group, which undertakes final assembly of the smart ev in Fradley, near Litchfield.

The smart ev is powered by a Zebra Sodium Nickel Chloride battery. The smart ev has 30 kW output and a top speed of 70 mph with a range of up to 72 miles (116 km). Acceleration from 0-30 mph takes 6.5 seconds—a faster time than the gasoline-powered version.

A re-charge from 20% to 80% can be achieved in 2-4 hours; a complete recharge takes up to 8 hours.

A market trial of the smart ev is a significant step for the Mercedes Car Group as it is an important part of our commitment to sustainable mobility.

We expect to deliver up to 200 units in this market trial phase and will work with corporate partners, to find suitable applications for the ev, and with green energy suppliers to deliver zero emissions from well to wheel.

—Dermot Kelly, Managing Director Mercedes Car Group

More than 40,000 smart fortwos have been sold in the UK since the car was launched there in 2000.



>The smart ev is powered by a Zebra Sodium Nickel
>Chloride battery. The smart ev has 30 kW output and
>a top speed of 70 mph with a range of up to 72 miles
>(116 km). Acceleration from 0-30 mph takes 6.5
>seconds—a faster time than the gasoline-powered

Hmm its might just be enough but kind of a stiff price.
Still its all electric. Wonder if you can go at 50mph for
72 miles? Basically is it the mileage that wears out the battery or the speed you go at? I am sure more stop and go would effect it as well but maybe not as much as I think.

Still seems very cool.
Why no Li Ion option?


Prolly its the cost factor preventing them to use lithium ion.

With 30kw, range over 100km, 0-100km in 6.5, it is actually quite suited for everyday use! Just at this price, it is quite expensive. What car can you buy with £370 monthly repayment in UK? Two audi S40 sedan?

special note

Special note, it's not 0-100kph in 6.5 seconds, only "50kph"/30mph. So it's certainly not quick, I still dig it though.


I'm not sure why any company would pay almost $700.00 a month for a car with only enough cargo capacity to deliver small pizzas. The limited range and long recharge times won't help either.

For $700.00 a month, you could probably buy the new AC propulsion Scion conversion, capable of much longer ranges with much greater carrying capacity. (Assuming they ever get beyond the "We're just about to ready" phase.


The savings depend on how much you pay for London's congestion tax I guess.


The congestion charge exemption should be worth about 100 pounds per month. That is: 5 pounds per car per day (corporate -- private cars cost 8 per day) times 20 working days per month. I'm guessing here, but the parking exemption is probably worth an equal sum. The gas savings are also non-trivial, because London has some of the highest petroleum costs around (equal to $6 per gallon US). Plus, the UK government levies a hefty yearly registration fee for cars, geared to their CO2 footprint.

Leasing this car for 370 pounds per month is the equivalent of leasing a normal car for 170 and then paying extra for congestion charges and parking. The savings on gas and registration are gravy on top of that.

Granted, the economics of this thing basically make sense in London, and nowhere else -- until the battery prices come down a whole bunch, of course.


Granted, the economics of this thing basically make sense in London, and nowhere wonder they are introducing it there first, but this is a great start. after all, we have a major manufacturer come out with a (more or less) mass-produced electric vehicle, for the first time in what, 5 years? and the previous cars were only sold due to CA's ZEV mandate.


WOW, I want one now. The air pollution here in Salt Lake City Utah is so bad in the winter you can cut it with a knief.

Combine that car with wind or solar power and we could have a much cleaner place to live in.

Hey Dermot Kelly bring those cars to the USA now !!!!

Kyle Dansie

shaun mann

yes, if i were independantly wealthy, i'd probably get one to use whenever my venturi fetish seemed a bit too flash.

of course, i'm not and $700/month to lease a car sounds ridiculous.

my last car cost $700 total (a 1992 geo storm. i bought it to teach myself to drive manual)


Correct me if I am wrong: isn’t sodium battery have to be heated to high temperature to work properly? If yes, it means car should be extensively driven every day, which is fine for fleet delivery, but not for private use.


RExis: What car can you buy with £370 monthly repayment in UK? Two audi S40 sedan?

Actually, including VAT, it will get you just one Audi A4 sedan. Cars are way more expensive here than in the USA. Heck, even iPod downloads cost more!!!


For that money you could afford the payments on a real car with LPG/CNG conversion and not have to pay the congestion charge.


shaun mann - "my last car cost $700 total "
However you did not pay for the Exxon Valdez cleanup or the cost of stablilising greenhouse gases or the environmental damage caused by mining oil and so on and so on. .. the health costs associated with car crashes ....

Cars are so cheap because we externalise the costs and that cars have been made for near on a hundred years. Try buying a car with an aero engine for comparison. A low volume high quality Rotax engine will set you back up to $18 000.

Electric car technology will take years to mature and achieve the same economy of scale that IC cars have.

Sunny Tai

not bad...not bad...
nice to see a car company actually trying..


If the full electric version of this car were available today I would buy one in a second. It would be perfect for the kind of driving me and a lot of my neighbors do here in Florida. There are a few electrics available made by Zap and others, but they only do 25 mph and are limited by law to roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less.

C'mon Daimler/Chrysler, sell me one of those here in the US or lease one of your test mules to me. I'm on the Internet everyday looking for roadworthy electric vehicles...not golf carts. I've owned two electric bikes but I need an electric car. Hook me up.

Desperate in Florida (pant, pant)


If this "test" fails, what will they do with the cars? Crush them? Not sure that the corporate world is a great place to test them. Aren't corporations in existence to make money? They want to do an "analysis". Why don't they go ahead and offer them to the general public and let the customers do their own analysis. Or how about some market research as in, "how much would you pay for this car given these specs"?


This vehicle meets all my personal requirements (range and top speed) but fails on one metric: I would need space for 2 passengers along with myself (they wouldn't have to be seats for a full size adult though).


Still the same - the battery is too expensive, recharge time and load are unacceptable. $700 lease is a bad joke. Almost funny that engineers worldwide are unable to develop an useful energy storage pack. Volta would turn in his grave.

Shaun Williams

This is fantastic.

The Smart has always been the stand-out for an EV version.

For those of you who talk about range, speed, price and recharge times being serious limitations, try looking at the world with bigger eyes;

Manufacturers have to start somewhere. Why always simply refuse to understand that a vehicle with these specifications can suit many applications for many, many people. Just because they don't suit your needs doesn't warrant constant self-centered criticism.

I think DaimlerChrysler have chosen their market well, I wish them the best of fortune with this venture.


Will there be an option to buy after the lease? Is this another California EV-1 scenario?


Once again and too many times the Market has NOT ! reacted fast for PV powered personal electric cars -
with better battery systems ..ok wait till the oil cartel hurts you more in the pocket....yeah more talk and less action.(ok they wont post this but we all know whats coming any way)

Jim Adcock

Please register your interest in the Smart EV Car at the following location so that they will bring it to our country. You may have to specify that you are a "company" before their website accepts your notice of interest.


Is there any reason why Chrysler doesn't make a more attractive EV? The SMART car is a very spastic looking little car.


Going the leasing route again? Why not sell? Isn't this the same strategy taken with the EV-1 electric car in the 1990's? No thanks. I'll wait for the Japanese to introduce a car they will sell. I sincerely hope they sink the U.S. car manufacturers for their ties to the oil industry. You are a disgrace.




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