Daimler to offer a trial version of Smart electric car in Hong Kong

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 9, 2011

Daimler AG will offer a trial version of its Smart electric car to Hong Kong partners as the city fights record pollution. In a statement, Daimler said that its trial partners, including the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Swire Coca-Cola HK, will employ the two-seater car for 6-12 months. Mercedes Benz will set up a service center with technicians and mechanics.

The pilot program, which runs for four years, enters a push by companies like Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. to present electric vehicles in Hong Kong.

Government data show that in Hong Kong, pollution reached "very high" levels on a record one in four days last year. Last February, lawmakers said that the city government intends to replace several fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones and is looking into the possibility of hybrid buses.

Edward Yau, Hong Kong's environment secretary, said that Hong Kong could become a greener city with the “combination of electric vehicles and cleaner energy.” He said that Hong Kong has 170 electric vehicles and will boost the number of charging stations from 300 to 1,000 in a year. Daimler's Smart electric car, which could run 135 kilometers (84 miles) on a single charge, won't be built worldwide until 2012.

Daimler has launched similar pilot programs in other parts in Asia like Indonesia, Japan and Singapore. There are four other partners who will receive this car in Hong Kong. These are CLP Power Hong Kong Ltd., Jardine Airport Services Ltd., Yan Chai Hospital and Hongkong Electric Co.

Smart Fortwo popularised the compact vehicle with zero emissions back in 2007. Since the car is practical for everyday use, the 1st generation has gained customer satisfaction throughout the UK. So in 2008, Smart launched the 2nd generation electric car fitted with a highly advanced lithium ion battery for its electric drive unit.

Starting November 2009, Smart Fortwo will be producing its brand-new line. Nevertheless, the Smart everyday car will adhere to its standards in terms of engineering, aesthetics and emission-free driving. The superior technology used in the new lithium-ion battery offers better reliability, extended life, quicker charging hours and top-quality performance.

Smart’s Brand Manager Marc Langenbrinck described how the 2nd generation was inspired by the 1st generation’s eco-friendly concept. In fact, it’s far better this time around because of the car’s advanced electric battery drive unit.

Consumers will appreciate driving this car around the city without having to worry about how it affects its surroundings. The new Smart Fortwo is environment-friendly, practical and is also agile.

Meanwhile, the idea of incorporating electric drive has always been ingrained in the smart vehicle’s concept. And it’s pre-meditated (in a sense), judging from the space allotted for the battery between the axles underneath the flooring. In fact, the Smart Fortwo’s electric drive module has enough space for the luggage compartment similar to its previous models with a combustion engine.

On the other hand, the new Smart Fortwo’s powerful drive is due to the highly responsive 30kW magneto-electric motor found at the rear. It can also deliver a 120Nm powerful torque and accelerate as much as 0-60km/h in just 6.5 secs.

But since the car is made for the city, the smart vehicle can only run 100km/h at maximum speed. Still, Smart Fortwo’s single fixed ratio is a big advantage. At least, you won’t have to change gears whenever a heavy volume of traffic is up ahead.

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