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smart Showing Next-Generation fortwo electric drive at Detroit

smart is presenting the next-generation prototype of the smart fortwo electric drive during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. At the end of 2009, smart will begin producing the smart fortwo electric drive equipped with a lithium-ion battery. The company says that it is exploring opportunities for the US market.

smart fortwo electric drive Click to enlarge.

In 2007, smart started a pilot project in London (earlier post), leasing 100 electric smarts of the former series to gain real world experience and determine the technology’s long-term sustainability. Participants lease the electric smart for four years or 40,000 miles, and the project will officially run until 2012.

The company is using the test data and monitoring and evaluating other different technologies to evolve the smart brand.

In September 2008, with the support of the German government and the state of Berlin, Daimler AG and the energy provider RWE introduced the “e-mobility Berlin” project. (Earlier post.) RWE is providing 500 electricity charging stations and Daimler is contribution 100 electric vehicles. Both companies aim to create an intelligent system, and the first joint tests are scheduled for the spring of 2009.

Additionally, an on-board unit is being developed that will communicate with charging stations to ensure that the battery is automatically charged with low-priced electricity when the network is not used to full capacity, for example at off-peak times.

Daimler AG is launching its next electric mobility project in cooperation with Enel, Italy’s largest energy supplier. (Earlier post.) In 2010, the e-mobility Italy initiative will see more than 100 electric cars of the smart and Mercedes-Benz brands in Rome, Milan and Pisa. Enel will be responsible for developing and setting up over 400 charging stations especially for this purpose in the three cities. The project aims to further develop automotive technology and an intelligent infrastructure, and also establish open standards. Infrastructure is a particularly important issue in Italy, where the majority of vehicles are parked in city streets.

Evonik and Daimler recently established a partnership on the development and production of lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) In the near future, Evonik Li-Tec cells will appear in electric vehicles of smart and Mercedes-Benz Cars. On 15 December 2008, Daimler AG took over 49.9% of Li-Tec Vermögensverwaltung GmbH (Li-Tec). Evonik Industries AG already holds 50.1 percent. Both partners are seeking the involvement of a third shareholder in Li-Tec with expertise in electrical and electronic systems integration. Furthermore, the companies will also establish a joint venture with a clear focus on the development and production of batteries and battery systems for automotive applications. Daimler will hold 90% of this joint venture, and Evonik 10%.

The lithium-ion batteries produced by the joint venture will be used in both the passenger car and commercial vehicle sectors. The capacity available at Li-Tec and the joint venture will initially concentrate on the needs of Daimler AG. Beyond that, the sale of cells and battery systems to third parties is planned.



It's too bad these smart cars look g a y....they would probably sell many more if they actually looked decent.


Yeah. These things look like they were created by the animators at Hanna Barbera.

Will S

Yeah, why can't they just make a big, beefy SUV for real guys? And what's all this talk about energy independence when I can buy gas for next to nothing now? It must mean it's endless...

/sarcasm off

Deep Throat

I just test drove an '09 Smart car. The transmission shifting is much improved over the '08, but still not great. Suspension is still pretty harsh, too. Otherwise it's a great car and perfect for parking in the city.

And as for its looks, it looks great and it makes people smile :). People still honk and wave as you drive by. Inside the car you sit up high and it seems very spacious from the drivers seat. An excellent optical illusion but it works. Also the passenger seatback folds totally flat for extra luggage space if you need it.

It's a great car if you don't need a back seat. No different than someone buying a convertible like a Z3 or a Miata with no backseat, basically.

Calvin Brock

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