Smart Transitions to Electric Only For North America
Feb 15 2017
Automotive company Daimler said in a letter they'll stop selling gas-powered Smart cars in the United States and Canada, and instead will sell only electric versions of their micro cars in those countries. That, Smart said, is a reflection of "challenges" in the super-compact's segment. The news was first reported by Reuters, and SlashGear has reviewed the letter Smart distributed to North American dealerships. It will discontinue the gas-powered version in the United States after the 2017 model, although a gas-guzzling model will still be available in Europe, according to Digital Trends. Resolutely committed to two seats and a tiny footprint, the ForTwo's goal was to flood urban areas with vehicles that were roughly half the size of the average auto.
Despite its small size, the gas-powered Fortwo doesn't impress in fuel economy.
"The Smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero emissions smart electric drive coupe and cabrio (convertible) in the USA and Canada", Mercedes Benz said in a statement. That is compared with global sales of Smart branded vehicles of 144,479.
Industry trade journal Automotive News reports production of the USA -spec, gasoline-powered Fortwo is scheduled to stop in April.
A quick peek at Smart's sales figures shows the writing on the wall. The company had an electric version of its Smart vehicle since 2009 when it invested in Tesla after the team converted a fortwo with a battery pack. Highlights of the EV include a healthy 118 lb-ft of torque from the ED's electric motor, a relatively quick recharge rate that sees the battery pack go from zero to an 80 percent charge in 2.5 hours, and an expected starting price of just $23,000 before tax credits.
The 8-foot, 8-inch long auto will provide 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, with a battery that offers between 70 and 80 miles on a single charge.