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smart fortwo electric drive Debuts in the US

The smart electric drive. Click to enlarge.

The smart fortwo electric drive has made its debut in the United States. smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. will launch a program this fall that will place electric drive vehicles with partners in select regions of the country.

smart USA will begin deploying a fleet of 250 electric drive vehicles across the United States this fall, targeting key electrification leadership cities and Department of Energy grant areas. smart USA is targeting companies, municipalities, organizations and individuals interested in making a passionate statement on conservation and environmental awareness.

The smart fortwo electric drive. Click to enlarge.

Partners for vehicle placements will be announced later this year, and series production for consumer sales in smart center dealerships will begin in 2012 with the 2013 model year.

The United States’ fleet of 250 electric drive vehicles will begin arriving in October 2010 and is part of the second phase of a three-phase roll-out program. Phase one started with the placement of 100 electric drive units in London in 2007. Phase two is producing 1,500 cars for cities in Europe, the United States and Canada as well as selected markets in Asia, and first deliveries started in Germany late last year. Phase three will be series volume production starting in the 2012 model year.

The phase-two smart fortwo electric drive vehicles arriving in the United States this year are full electric vehicles, powered by a 30 kW drive motor and a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Using a standard 220V outlet, it takes three and a half hours to charge the battery from 20 to 80 percent of its capacity and less than eight hours to fully charge it. The battery can also be charged using a common household 110V outlet. The vehicles can reach highway speeds and offer a range of 82 miles (132 km) on a single charge.

The US pilot program is intended to provide third-generation technology developers with performance experience in the breadth of different geographies and climates that make up the continental United States. The information gathered in the phase-two vehicle research will establish the performance, range capability and recharging time of the series production vehicles with third generation technology.

Separately, smart USA Distributor LLC also appointed a smart dealer to serve the Hawaiian islands, expanding smart USA’s retail footprint into its 37th state. The dealership, to be named smart center Honolulu, will open later this month and be managed by the Hawaii Automotive Retailing Group.



Marketing suggestion: hire Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway to pitch the thing. Tag line: Get Smart.


"...that will place electric drive vehicles with partners in select regions of the country."

Like gated communities, country clubs, golf courses, and old age homes.


HA HA HA! EXACTLY Mannstein!


Oh NO. Another field trial.

How much do these cost?

Too much, apparently.

Not what the smart money buys, I'll wager.

Wait - maybe mannstein is on to something.

Maybe they are covered by Medicare.

Will S

The old school of automobile enthusiasts clings to their outdated preconceptions, even after Bush pulled the curtain back with "America is addicted to oil". Meanwhile, the world passes them by...


Of course with the approaching finalization of energy independence there will be little use for tiny deathtrap vehicles like this. It will die like the VW beetle.


"with the approaching finalization of energy independence..."

Don't hold your breath, it could be a LONG wait.


"energy independence" is a catchy phrase, but I have not heard when or how we will get there.


It will not happen overnight. But with an expanding portfolio of alternative energy resources (wind, wave and solar), electrification of transport, biofuels for transition and heavy lifting, distributed energy for small business and residence RPUs - we will have a firm path on which to tread.

These resources including new nuclear and a contracting use of domestic fossils - will produce "energy independence" from foreign oil. Thereafter we can target "sustainable energy independence" - a longer range challenge but one that will find solutions in unexpected places.


Energy independence will take time.

Less if new nuclear and domestic fossil fuels are pushed.

Unfortunately, it may not get much help from EVs.


"Energy Independence" is not a precise enough goal.
If we tapped every bit of tar sand, Alaskan wilderness, deep-water well, tired wells in Texas and Bakersfield, and did huge coal-to-liquids we might get to energy indepence for a few years. We'd emit even more carbon, and the price of fuel would rise dramatically as these sources are more expensive to tap and refine. Oh, and when we were done, we would have almost no domestic reserves. Hopefully none of our future suppliers would ever get mad at us, or lock up preferential deals with China. But, for a few years we would have been independent.

What we should be looking for is domestic renewable energy cheaper than coal. The Google guys have it right. That would meet our economic, ecologic and political needs best.


I should probably add that I think solar to BEV is the only viable land use path to domestic renewable energy cheaper than coal. Biofuels take too much land to meet a large percentage of our needs. Nuclear will take too long to bring on line, but it plays a role. Wind, tidal and geothermal are swell, but solar on rooftops, in fields near municipalities, and out in the desert is the most flexible, scalable, and because of thin film and other innovations, should end up being the most cost effective.


More energy independent might be a realistic goal. Flexible fuel, EVs, combined cycle power/energy plants and other methods can get us into a better position than now. After the peak oil bidding wars start, we would be well advised to be in a better position than now.

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