Following trials in the UK, Smart has shown a next-generation prototype of the electric smart fortwo at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, with the intention of introducing the car to the American market. At the end of 2009, smart will begin producing the smart fortwo electric drive equipped with a lithium-ion battery.
In 2007, smart started a pilot project in London leasing 100 electric smarts to gain real world experience and determine the technology’s long-term sustainability. Participants lease the electric smart for four years or 40,000 miles, and the project will officially run until 2012.
The company is using the test data and monitoring and evaluating other different technologies to evolve the smart brand.
Green-Car-Guide drove one of the latest electric smarts recently and although the smart fortwo looks like it’s a perfect base for an electric car, the development work isn’t quite complete; the Mitsubishi iMIEV is a much smoother performer.
Smart is also working with partners in Europe to ensure an infrastructure of electric charging stations exists, together with in car software to utilise low priced electricity. Smart is also working with other partners to ensure a supply of lithium-ion batteries.