Next electric smart car may be cheapest EV in US
The first sub-$30,000 electric car from a mainstream automaker looks possible, but there's a small catch.
In Europe, the smart fortwo electric drive (ED, for short) costs €18,910, or just under $25,000 at current exchange rates. That puts it a good $5,000 lower than the least-expensive EV, the Mitsubishi I-MiEV. The catch: Smart drivers must lease the battery from Daimler for $85 per month.
Smart isn't the only automaker trying to soften EV sticker shock. Renault offers a battery lease on its low-speed, two-passenger Twizy for $59 per month, and also plans to offer the incentive on its larger electric car, the Zoe, due this fall. But while battery leasing may lower short-term ownership costs, it's a drain for buyers wishing to keep an EV for more than five years. After that time, the smart's price advantage over the Mitsubishi crumbles (total price, including the battery, is just under $31,000).
In July 2010, smart began leasing 250 ED models in the U.S., out of about 1,500 worldwide, for $599 per month. In November 2011, Daimler's car2go service brought 300 smart ED models into San Diego for hourly rentals. The next-generation car, on sale in Europe since June, will bring sorely needed performance upgrades when it arrives in 2013, including a larger 55-kilowatt motor and 17.6-kilowatt-hour battery. The current smart ED is barely highway worthy, as it requires 23 seconds to reach the maximum 60-mph speed (the 2014 model will reach 78 mph, Daimler said). A spokesman for Smart USA declined to comment on U.S. pricing or whether the company would offer a similar battery lease program.
With no back seat and cramped cargo space, the smart ED needs aggressive pricing to justify its existence against larger EVs with similar range and more driver comforts. Last year, smart sold fewer than 7,000 gasoline-powered cars, less than either the all-electric Nissan Leaf or plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. According to Bloomberg, Daimler says it plans to sell at least 10,000 electric fortwo models per year worldwide.
[Source: Daimler, Bloomberg]
SOME THINGS ARE WORTH WAITING FOR the electric is not a mature product. Is it MADE IN USA? Well call me back when you put that thing together in Detroit .I LOVE hot dogs not ready for thin pastrami By the way I am born and raised in Europe still my tax money are here and I depend on American Economy. remember 1.29 per gallon in 99???
Natural Gas is the solution. It's abundant domestically. It's clean. It's cheap. The infrastructure can be phased in to replace oil over time so we don't have to break the bank to convert.
Of course democrats hate it because it won't give them that "I'm sacrificing for the environment by spending too damn much" buzz.
Lease Battery $ 85 a month ? ... another way to try to steal money .... , i`m happy with my 2010 Prius that going slow on brake and paddle gives me a lots,lots of miles.. specially those from 2010 and up .. I highly recomend ..
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.