According to the excellent Hybrid & Electric magazine, Daimler announced the Smart brand will switch over to electricity in Europe for the model year 2018. As of 2020, it will only be available as an electric vehicle (EV).
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, also confirmed at the OEM’s annual shareholders’ meeting that Daimler would offer at least one electrified model in each segment in four years, by 2022.
After spending a relatively quiet past few decades pumping out one highway sedan after another, Daimler is eager to remind us that it is also working on the future of our mobility needs as well.
Zetsche told investors, “We are electrifying our vans, trucks and buses. And we have many more plans – also going beyond our products. At Daimler, we initiated the transformation from an automobile manufacturer into a mobility provider about 10 years ago. That way, we can offer our customers a complete package that ranges from carsharing to ridesharing, and to parking and charging.”
Smart Cars Move To Electricity Only
The Smart line of cars truly has had a fascinating history. From its early mid-1980s start as a Smart Watch car to practically all carmakers rejecting the idea, Daimler was the only one to buy into it. Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, the Smart car has been around for a few decades and continues to evolve.
One of the best ways to continue producing and selling the Smart car is to make it more energy efficient. A car designed in the 1980s needs to be brought up to today’s safety crash standards, which adds cost. How to bring down costs? How about a simple electric drivetrain?
With that in mind, converting the Smart to electricity may extend its useful life another few decades. At this rate, will the Smart car be driven by our grandchildren with other wilder and more futuristic powertrains? Who knows.
Daimler Embracing The Inevitable Electric Switch
Whether Daimler is becoming green or making financial sense of becoming green is a moot point. The fact that it is moving into an electric future. Also note that Daimler and BMW will work together to develop mobility services, an interesting collaboration between companies that usually compete.
The Smart ED has a lot of competition in Europe, including Renault’s Twizy and the few Peugeot iOns (Mitsubishi i-MiEVs) still left on lots. We need to see more smaller EVs in urban markets. Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV) making a comeback and filling a missing piece of our mobility needs would be superb. The Smart ED could be seen as the top of such a market, or simply as a space-efficient, energy-efficient, finance-efficient car for smart people.
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