|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.