The Smart ForTwo Electric (aka Smart Electric Drive) is arguably the cheapest electric car on the market. Obviously, though, it’s only practical for so many people. Daimler is soon going to unveil an updated version of the tiny electric car, but it will also roll out an electric version of the Smart ForFour.
The new electric Smart ForTwo and Smart ForFour, though, have been developed in partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Alliance, and Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, sat down for a chat at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week and reaffirmed the plan for those electric cars to roll out in 2016.
Both vehicles will be fitted with an electric motor produced by Renault’s Cléon plant in France, the same one used in the Renault ZOE. The battery of the new smart electric drive will be produced by the Daimler subsidiary, “Deutsche ACCUmotive,” in Kamenz, Germany.
When the Daimler-Alliance partnership was launched in April 2010, the scope of the original collaboration was limited to three projects, primarily in Europe. Since then, the combined portfolio shared between the partners has more than quadrupled to 13 projects in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Renault-Nissan is certainly one of the prime leaders in the electric vehicle transition, while Daimler has been a bit slow on its game. The Smart Electric Drive may be cheap, but it hasn’t been very competitive in recent years, and work to push it out to more buyers doesn’t seem to be happening very broadly. We’ll have to wait to see how serious Daimler is about selling the new electric versions of the Smart ForTwo and Smart ForFour.