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Daimler to Begin Smart EV Testing in London

Financial Times. Daimler plans to begin testing all-electric versions of its smart fortwo microcar in London next month, with retail production targeted by 2010.

The brand will begin delivering electric cars to about 100 customers in the UK capital in mid-December and plans similar pilots in two other European cities, Anders Jensen, head of the Smart brand team, told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

The test cars will be leased to mostly corporate and public-sector buyers—including the London police—for a pilot-test period of four years, Mr Jensen said. If the tests turn out as Daimler hopes, the company plans to begin commercial production in 2010, before the end of the pilot.

“We want to test it and get it into production,” Mr Jensen said.

In July 2006, Daimler launched a limited commercial trial in the UK for the smart fortwo ev (earlier post); in 2007, smart renamed the model the fortwo ed (electric drive). The company provided approximately 100 units as lease vehicles to selected British customers.

The drivetrain for the smart ed is produced in the UK by technology partner Zytek Group, which undertakes final assembly of the smart ev in Fradley, near Litchfield. The smart ed is powered by a Zebra Sodium Nickel Chloride battery. The car 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 hat-tip to John!)



this all assuming that Mes Dea of switzerland are
going to start producing more batteries , I put this
question to one of their managers at an exhibition in
Lugano , he told me that they had no intention of expanding
production , and had declined a large order from Think of
norway for this reason .

Price for the smart fourtwo EV in switzerland is 28700chf
without the battery , the battery costs 16400chf or can
rented for 230 chf per month with a deposit of 5750 chf

Car seems to be on sale here now , however I am unsure as
to wether or not this version has the Zytek motor and drive


The current production by Mes Dea of Switzerland is very limited. I believe I read somewere that they would only supply about 10 batteries a month to the Think car and that was the reason that the Think car have gone to other suppliers of lithium batteries.

I am sure the issue is that everybody expect the automotive grade lithium batteries to take over soon and consequently make the production of Zebra batteries uneconomic. So no one will use money to expand production capacity of the Zebra battery. Daimler does not expect to sell this car in volume with the Zebra battery. They do it to get some experience with EV fabrication and about the durability of all the EV related components not associated with the Zebra battery.


They are going to run their pilot program with a different type of battery than the planned production cars? Did Daimler hold onto some of the Chrysler product development people? Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm just a truck driver) but that is stupid.

Jim G.

New batteries is about as fundamental a change to a vehicle as swapping an incandescent bulb in for a compact fluorescent in a lamp. Maybe you get a new charger. Big deal. The big changes would be, say, your choice of motors and controllers and whatnot.

I'm sure I'll trigger a flame war for saying it, but my definition of "stupid" would be what GM did with the Volt. A year into its promotion, they're now announcing the body shape from the PR literature now in people's hands was never even tested in the wind tunnel and will be totally redesigned.


Jim G.: Not to flame...but I think changing battery types is a little different from light bulbs. Batteries with different chemistries have very different characteristics and need different control and management systems. (Excuse my technicalese ^_^).


Uh - it took 10 years tio prove the durability and life of the Zebra in real world conditions. Same for NiMH. Going to an untried battery - ie one which has not yet seen 10 years real word teststing - and you are back to square one

Thomas Lankester

Chaps: maybe it is the market acceptance and usability that is being tested here, not just the battery and controller. So long as it is reliable the average customer won't care too much. When the G-Wiz switched from DC to AC versions the main response was 'that's nice'. The extra oomph and MPC were of more interest.

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