Smart, the microcar built by Daimler and popular everywhere in the world except the U.S., will launch an electric version of their two seat urban commuter this fall. Dubbed the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, the pocket sized eco-mobile will feature a maximum range of 82 miles per charge, with a recharging time of 3.5 hours. It will also feature a whopping price tag; available only for lease, the monthly cost will be $915, or $600 per month once you factor in the federal EV tax credit.
That kind of coin would lease you a BMW 335d and still leave you about $150 per month for diesel fuel. You could probably get two VW TDIs for the same amount per month, so who is actually going to step up to the plate for an electric Smart? Of the 250 that will be imported into the U.S., 200 will go to corporate fleets, with a mere 50 reserved for the affluent EV buyer. The cars will only be leased in selected markets (Portland, San Jose, Orlando and Indianapolis), further limiting their appeal.
I’m surprised that Los Angeles didn’t make the list, since Hollywood’s A list celebrities are quick to embrace the latest eco-social trend, regardless of cost. The Hollywood crowd probably spends more than $600 per month on lawn care, making the Smart EV look like a reasonable way to save the planet (and look good doing it).