Daimler beat fellow German carmaker BMW in introducing an emission-free vehicle model first by commencing sales and production of its smart ForTwo electric car. Daimler started building the Smart ForTwo at its Hambach plant in France, which is currently undergoing more than EUR200 million in upgrades. The company will start delivering the ForTwo vehicles later this year. According to Annette Winkler, smart’s global head, the upgrade of the Hambach site includes the accommodation of the production of the electric-powered smart and the next generation of the city car. The smart ForTwo boasts of being able to travel 145 kilometers before it runs out of battery power. Customers could opt to lease or purchase smart ForTwo’s battery. If a customer chooses to lease the battery, he would have to shell out EUR65 a month, on top of the acquisition price of the smart ForTwo at EUR18,910. However, if a customer decides to purchase the battery, he would have to pay a total of EUR23,680.
Rival carmaker Renault plans to lease the battery pack of its Zoe model, for EUR80 to EUR100 monthly, allowing it to attach the subcompact with a price tag of EUR15,700 when it becomes available to the public later this year. Renault is also leasing the battery pack in its Kangoo ZE, Fluence ZE and Twizy vehicles. The carmaker’s policy defies the tide in Europe, where other auto manufacturers sell their electric vehicle models and batteries as one package. These models include Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf, Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero.
"The new smart electric drive and the expansion of the Hambach plant are two important milestones for the future of smart", said Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "With the new smart electric drive we are further expanding our leading position in urban mobility and making fully electric driving accessible to everyone. For this – and for the successor generation to the current smart – we are making significant investments in the Hambach site. And I am convinced that this is money extremely well invested."