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Two New EVs to Launch at British International Motor Show: smart ev and NICE

A 2005 prototype of the smart ev. Source: DaimlerChrysler

The Guardian reports that two new electric vehicles will debut at the upcoming British International Motor Show: an all-electric version of DaimlerChrysler’s smart car, and the NICE (no internal combustion engine) car. The show runs from 20-30 July in London.

DaimlerChrysler showed a prototype of a smart fortwo ev in 2005. The prototype smart fortwo electric vehicle featured an electric motor with an output of up to 30 kW (41 hp). With a consumption of 12 kWh per 100 kilometers, the car had a range of 110 kilometers (62 miles).

A full recharge takes 8 hours; charing from 20% to 80% capacity takes four hours. smart created the electric drive in cooperation with Zytek, a British company that focuses on developing hybrid and electric drives. (Earlier post.)

DaimlerChrysler reportedly will only offer the smart ev for leasing at about £375 (US$690) per month, mainly to large companies wanting to use them as pool cars.

The NICE car was developed by a team of ex-Lotus engineers, and reportedly has a 50-mile range, with a 40 mph top speed.

More details on each will emerge at the show.

In London, electric vehicles enjoy free on-street parking, pay no annual road tax, and are exempt from the congestion charge.



So that's a 13 kWh battery then.

If they used 18650 lithium-ion like AC-propulsion, Tesla etc, they could store that 13 kWh in as little as 65 kg, using 1,500 Sanyo lithium-ion cells, but I expect they'll be using some kind of lead-acid - anyone heard what type of battery they are using?


Sounded great until I read the price for leasing and the fact that this would only go mainly large companies. Oh well, the wait continues. Also, this didn't mention the SMART EVs speed.


Great! When can I purchase one? So far in Canada we have import restrictions on 100% electric vehicles. I might have to make one but in the meantime I was looking at the Happy Messenger made in China. I need a new car soon and it would be nice not to have to worry about fuel prices. I spend currently about $2500 per year in gas and oil changes. With this electric I would half my maintenance/fuel costs and NILL my emissions test. Maybe one day.

Rafael Seidl

Clett -

marketing departments will claim (almost) anything, but it is possible that actual battery capacity will be higher than 13 kWh because complete discharges would sharply reduce battery life. I don't know which battery type they are using, but I doubt it's lead-acid - even 13kWh worth of those would add enormous weight and bulk to the vehicle.

t -

30kW is what the current diesel variant of the smart fortwo is rated at, with a top speed of 135kph (84mph). An electric vehicle could not keep that speed up for very long, though, due to the low energy density of batteries. Instead, a smart ev would be used mostly for in-town deliveries. In London, the hefty lease fee is offset by not having to pay for parking, road tax or congestion, which together add a fairly staggering amount to the cost of operating a regular car.


Hi Chris.

It seems strange that there are import restrictions on EVs in Canada. Its not like there are a whole lot of them around! Do you know the reasons for this?


I found it on Memorandum D19-12-1 dated Nov 8 2002 on the government of Canada website which stated that electric vehicles being imported from all countries were prohibited. Now that's a few years ago and I haven't found any updated information so I'm not sure if that still stands. I can however I believe build my own which is a possibility.

Herb Sewl

$690 per month??? That makes it like a $35000 car. That is a lot a money for a car that doesn't go over 40mph. Why can't anyone match what GM did with the EV1?


One reason circulating about electric cars is the Canadian government hasn't found a way to recover the gas tax lost by someone using an electric vehicle.

Yeah. $690/mo. is a bit steep. Whatever happened to the Happy Messenger?


Happy Messenger is available in the US via Miles Automotive.

shaun mann

12kWh/100Km (@$.1/kWh) = $1.20/62 miles = $.019/mile = 53 miles/$ = cost of electricity, assuming perfectly efficient batteries (false assumption, batteries can never be more than 50% efficient) and perfectly efficient charging electronics (they should operate in the 95%+ range, so this is ok)

13 kWh batteries (@$100/kWh (USABC long term goal)) replace after 1000 cycles (62,000 miles) (USABC long term goal). so, $1300 battery pack replacement cost spread over 62,000 miles gives us $.021/mile prorated cost to replace the battery (excluding interest or inflation deflation or W). this is a optimistic since it is based on a goal, not reality.

so, in an underpowered smart, we have an optimistic estimated cost per mile of $.04/mile for fuel.

in a regular smart, you get 45 mpg assuming $4/gal = 45mile/$4 = .089$/mile

.089-.04 = .049$/mile

assuming a life cycle of 100,000 miles a purely economically-minded person should be willing to spend an extra $4900 for a BEV.

somehow, i think the premium is still somewhat more than that. probably closer to $30,000 extra for a small car.


Why not exclude them from taxes altogether? Doesn't the benefit outweigh the lost revenue?

For that matter, exclude them from safety standards also. Say perhaps, any vehicle that weighs less than some amount (1500lbs)? It is many leagues safer than a 180 mph crotch rocket motorcycle in any event.


And why does the Smart have to look like something from a cartoon?

John W.

HI Chris, I am a fellow Canadian who has also thought of building my own electric car! If you happen to find any other more current news I would be very obliged if you passed it on to me (and everyone else here too) please. I will do the same.

Just an idea for you, but if you look at the web-site for "Ridge Runner" they make an incredible rough-terrain vehicle: I thought about using their chassis but putting in an electric drive with perhaps room for a tiny genset for longer rides...just a thought for you in your ponderings about building a car... It's a bit 'rough,' if you can pardon the pun, but as do-it-yourselfers we can't expect the level of refinement found in a honda... Good luck!


there are now low end NEVs ( miles automotive/happy messenger 25mph ) at $10k and there are high-end supercars ( Mullen/Hybrid technologies Lix-75, 180mph) at $100K

Who is going to strike first with something in the middle ground for the masses ?


The Canadian Government could increase little by little taxes on electrical current? This would help to decrease the overall energie consumption too.


I'm betting that they're using NiMH batteries on this car. That's the technology GM implemented on their updated EV1, and the technology that Toyota implemented on the Prius. If so, they should probably get good lifespan out of the battery packs, as reports coming out of the Prius community suggest very few battery problems there, even after years on the road.

When examining the economics of this car, you have to account for the following factors:

1. Gasoline costs upwards of $6/gal in London, not $4.
2. Gasoline engines have other maintenance items, such as oil and brakes, which need frequent attention. Regenerative braking in electric cars spares the conventional system a good deal of wear and tear.
3. As Rafael points out, saving tax and parking is a considerable amount. To add detail to the London Congestion Charge point: Business fleet operators pay 5 pounds per day for a car driven in the zone. If operated for 20 working days per month, that amounts to 100 pounds per month, which is, in itself, over a quarter of the monthly lease payment for this car. Parking and tax probably work out to an equal amount -- and so, all of a sudden, the numbers start to line up.

Harvey D.

Governments are not inherently against electric cars but Oil industries (and future biofuel industries + farmers) certainly do not, for a very good reason, want electric vehicles on the roads.

Governments have to be re-elected. To win the next election they need financial support from profitable industries. Votes from farmers are also essential in many parts of the country.

It may not be environmentally sound but it is basic free world democracy at work. The existing $0.54/gal import tariff on Ethanol is one of many demonstrations on how it works in real democratic life.

allen Z

As for gas tax loss, just increase registration fees and high speed highway tolls. The gas tax in the US is not paying enough for what it is supposed to in covering expenses for the roads.


Here's a view on the EV1 from a GM technician who worked on the project.

Some facts about the EV1, the research and development of which was produced by _my_ division of GM, Hughes Electronics:

General Motors lost two billion dollars on the project, and lost money on every single EV1 produced. The leases didn't even cover the costs of servicing them.

The range of 130 miles is bogus. None of them ever achieved that under normal driving conditions. Running the air conditioning or heater could halve that range. Even running the headlights reduced it by 10%.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Bob T

I am trying to figure out how Hybrid technologies can buy a car retrofit it and it gets 100miles per charge goes highway speeds while this car has a bunch of limitations. ??? Cost about the same if not less.
In mass production aren't costs supposed to go down.


Ron Fischer

Previous electric Smart cars were powered by the Zebra battery.



yes, read the entire thing, i.e. read the entire thread to get more balanced views. the guy obviously has a personal axe to grind, like bickering about serviceability of a 288V system .. funny that Toyota repairmen arent complaining about similar systems in Prius.
The monetary loss is no surprise when producing bleeding-edge tech ( the thing had AC controller in it .. ) in abysmally low volume
battery replacement being arcane was _intentionally_ done so by GM to keep would-be modifiers and hackers getting killed tinkering. Thats why they had a two specially-made forklift combination for servicing.


Everyone is trying to cram more power into a battery so they can power conventional build car bodies, SUV's even. I believe this is not the right approach.

If we want to be serious about EV's we need to get their energy usage down! This means lighter, smaller purpose build vehicles. A commuter vehicle typically transports 1 person with maybe a jump seat for an unexpected passenger. Such vehicle typically travels through highway and city traffic thus needs to be able to travel at least at 80 km/h but it's range only needs to be 80 - 100 km depending on your particular needs. A finely purpose tuned vehicle will allow you to leave unneeded energy at home and thus save on weight and so on.

The key to a succesfull EV is to have a many different purpose build vehicles. People have to let go of the idea to use 3 tons of steel to move an 80kg payload. Car's don't have to have 5 seats and a 1 cubic meter boot and a range of 500 km all the time for everyone. Forget about airconditioning and open the window. With EV's the air on the highway will be breathable. So I really cringe when I see Hybrid SUV's or even worse EV SUV's. No matter where you take the enery from, you should not be using that much enery to move your bag of bones around in the first place.

Technology is helping to increase battery capacity but there is little being done to reduce the power needed to power an EV in the first place. Weight reduction, size reduction and so on.

Roger Pham

Thanks, Cervus,
for injecting a bit of reality check into what is up to now has been a band-wagon of GM bashing due to GM crushing of the mythical EV1. GM should have publicized these reality about EV instead taking all the punches from EV enthusiasts. (ie. the movie "Who really killed the EV1")

Paying $35,000 in lease for a 2-seat pint-size microcar is nutty, especially when for that sum of money, you can buy a used Prius and have someone installed a custom 12kwh Valence battery for ~50 mi worth of electrical range, well, that is if the Plugged-in Prius will also qualify for the EV preferential treatment in London, England. You'll never have to worry about running out of battery in the middle of your trip.

Get yourself a Prius and a ~$10,000 USD worth of Li-phosphate battery and then you don't have to worry about importing an EV into Canada, or having to build your own. Start saving!


RE: Happy Messenger - could someone please explain what happened to the performance specs between the time this was last posted and now? It went from a viable commuter car to a substandard paperweight in less than a year.

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