It looks like the year 2010 will indeed be groundbreaking for the automotive industry, as major players -Volkswagen, Chevrolet and BMW among them- are going to introduce their first mass-market electric-powered vehicles.
Citing Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Reuters says that in 2010 German Daimler plans to start selling an EV version of a Mercedes-Benz and an electric-powered Smart supermini.
It is still unclear, on which terms and at what price the electric Smart will be sold. Daimler’s chief executive Dieter Zetsche told the newspaper that the price will depend on whether the vehicle’s battery will be leased or sold with the car.
However, “the willingness (on the part of consumers) to pay more is limited,” he said, so there is a good chance that the car will come at a competitive price well south of the $30,000 mark.
So far, the only problem that I see is the choice of the vehicle. Due to a significantly smaller footprint of the car (the 2008 Smart ForTwo has a wheelbase of just 1870 mm, which is around 830 millimeters shorter than that of Toyota Prius), which is still bliss in tight places, the volume of the battery pack will be severely limited, too, thus restricting the battery’s capacity and the car’s range. Frankly, I highly doubt that the car will go more than 100 kilometers even on fully charged battery in perfect weather conditions.
On the other hand, the ForTwo is a perfect urban vehicle, which is supposed to be used within city boundaries, so, even the 100 kilometers per day may be enough for a normal driver.
At this time, Daimler has a fleet of 100 first-generation electric-powered Smart cars running in London.
Photo: Mercedes-Benz / Smart