Smart goes electric

  • Chicago (IL) – Smart cars have been criticized for not quite being as fuel efficient as their shopping cart size might suggest, but that could change with the Smart ed, an all-electric car that is scheduled to become available in 2010.

    If you have been looking for a way to be independent of high gasoline prices, we are now seeing some options appearing on the horizon – and not just options that are simply not in reach for a mainstream budget. A Prius plug-in hybrid is scheduled for the 2010 model year and Chevrolet is preparing its Volt for the same time frame. Both cars are expected to be priced at about $35,000 or slightly above.  
    Smart, which has become the posterchild for fuel efficiency in Europe (thanks to the diesel engines available there), has not been able to keep up with efficiency hopes in the U.S. so far. However, the company announced that it will be joining the all-electric charge with a Samrt fortwo ed model. Test mules are already on the road.

    The new vehicle will feature a Zytek electric motor that offers 41 hp, good enough for a limited top speed of 60 mph. Acceleration performance is 6.5 seconds to 30 mph. Charging the car is as as easy as flipping a fuel cap: A full 8-hour charge (which, in theory, gives the car a 100+ mile daily range) will deliver a range of 72 miles, Smart promises.

    The big question is how much the Smart ed will cost. Current Smart fortwo models start at $11,590 for the base model and at $16,590 for the convertible. It is reasonable to assume that the electric version could carry a premium that easily could double the base model’s price and even that price would be more theory than reality. Even if the car would list for less than $25,000, you can expect huge dealer markups when the car becomes available.  
    If you are interested in the Smart ed, submit your reservation rather sooner than later.