Large-scale Series Production of the smart fortwo electric drive to Begin in 2012 in Hambach; Support from the French Government
|Dr. Dieter Zetsche and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Hambach plant for the announcement. Click to enlarge.|
Daimler AG selected its plant in Hambach, France as the location of future large-scale series production of the smart fortwo electric drive. The company had earlier announced it would begin limited series production of some 1,000 units of the smart fortwo electric drive at Hambach this November. (Earlier post.) These vehicles will be provided to customers participating in various mobility projects in major cities in Europe and the US, in order to generate additional feedback from the use under everyday conditions.
As of 2012, the smart fortwo electric drive will be produced at Hambach in “significantly larger volumes” as a regular part of the smart product portfolio and will be sold through the smart sales network.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars made the announcement on the occasion of an official visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the plant.
The smart fortwo electric drive proves that emission-free driving in an urban environment is already feasible today. The initial series production will begin now with 1,000 vehicles, the first of which will be delivered to customers by the end of this year. As of 2012, the smart fortwo electric drive will then be part of the regular product program of the smart brand. With our decision to locate production here at the parent plant in Hambach, we are setting the course both for series production of electric vehicles and for the future of this highly innovative assembly plant.
Daimler will invest a double-digit million euro amount at the Hambach plant for production of the next generation of the smart fortwo electric drive with lithium-ion-battery. During his visit, President Sarkozy announced that the French government will support the project through its PAT (Prime d’aménagement du territoire) program. Further support is to be extended by the Region Lorraine and the Département de la Moselle. Both these measures will represent a total of 15% of the investment.
The smart brand began testing electric drive systems in 2007 in London with 100 first-generation smart fortwo electric drives. One year later, the company introduced the second generation with an more advanced electric drive and a lithium-ion battery.
The second-generation smart fortwo electric drive is fitted with a 14 kWh lithium-ion housed in a space-saving position between the axles. A 30 kW electric motor is fitted at the rear and offers 120 N·m of torque. The smart fortwo electric drive accelerates from 0 - 60 km/h in 6.5 seconds – just as quickly as a gasoline model which it initially leaves behind it. Its maximum speed has been deliberately limited to 100 km/h, a suitable speed for the city, according to smart.
The smart plant in Hambach was inaugurated in 1997. Since 1998, it has produced the smart fortwo, since 2007 in its current generation. In 2008, more than 800 employees of the plant and some further 800 people employed by seven system partners produced about 140,000 units of the smart fortwo. In September 2008, the brand celebrated its tenth anniversary along with the 1-millionth smart fortwo produced at the Hambach plant.
The Hambach plant has represented an innovative production concept since its beginning: The assembly line, in the shape of a plus sign, has been designed optimally to meet the demands of assembly and logistics and ensures efficient production processes. This principle enables the system partners to supply modules directly to the assembly line, which reduces transport and logistics efforts to a minimum.