electric drive: exempt from vehicle excise duty and the
London congestion charge, with very low operating costs.
Following UK market trials of 100 zero-emission smart
fortwo electric drive (smart ed) cars (since December 2007), the smart ed
will go into small series production toward the end of this year, with
cars coming to the UK in early 2010. Larger production
volumes are expected from 2012.
The UK market trial, which lasts for 4 years with
clients leasing the vehicles at a monthly cost of GB£375, received
positive reactions from fleet customers such as the Metropolitan Police,
universities, local councils, architects and energy companies, encouraging
the start with small series production of the second generation smart ed
(leasing costs to be announced later, but they are expected to be lower
Smart ed can be
plugged into any UK mains 3 pin plug socket.
The second generation smart electric drive will also be
taking part in projects in Rome, Milan and Paris. Several cities in the US
are also due to start trials of the fully electric car, to include the
feedback in the development of future production models.
Featuring a lithium-ion battery, Mercedes-Benz says
that the second generation smart electric drive’s power source will have
a longer range, boast a shorter charging time and will give improved
performance (more details will be available nearer to market launch). The
first generation fortwo electric drive models were fitted with
The smart electric drive burns no fossil fuels and
according to Mercedes-Benz, drivers can expect to achieve up to 80%
savings over the fuel costs of the already economical smart fortwo. That
gives the smart ed the equivalent of a 300 mpg consumption (imperial
gallons, about 250 US mpg, 0.94 litre / 100 km, 106 km per litre), but
without emitting (from the vehicle itself) any carbon dioxide, carbon
monoxide, unburned hydro-carbons, particulate matter or any harmful
The smart ed has
a handful of moving parts in the driveline, resulting in
lower servicing and maintenance costs compared to a petrol
With no gears to change, no engine oil, oil filter,
spark plugs or exhaust, the smart ed has only a handful of moving parts in
the driveline, resulting in lower servicing and maintenance costs compared
to a petrol driven smart. Mercedes-Benz UK says that apart from regular
charging, the lithium-ion battery is maintenance free and, depending on
use, can last up to 10 years.
Built by Zytek Automotive, the 30kW electric motor
allows the smart ed to reach 30 mph (48 km/h) in 6.5 seconds, on
the way to an electronically limited top speed of 60 mph (96.5 km/h).
With its on board charger, the car can be plugged directly into any UK
mains 3 pin plug socket for recharge. The ‘state of charge’ meter on
the dash swivels through 90 degrees so the state of charge may be visible
from inside the owner's / user's house.
Electric vehicles get in the UK a preferential tax rate
of 9%, and in the case of the smart ed, fuel charges are considerably
reduced as no petrol is provided and the provision of free electricity by
the employer to the employee is not treated as benefit in kind. Employees
choosing the smart ed as a company car get it at the notional taxable
value of £13,750.
The smart ed retains all the safety equipment of a
regular smart, such as ESP, ABS brakes, two airbags and seat belt pre-tensioners.
It also borrows the tried and NCAP tested Tridion safety cell from the
petrol driven smart.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “The move
to electric vehicles, which emit zero pollution on London's streets, will
have a massive impact on cutting carbon emissions to curb climate change
whilst improving air quality and noise levels for our citizens.”
Kulveer Ranger, Mayor's director of transport, said:
“The Mayor and I are working with manufacturers through the London
Electric Vehicle Partnership and urge the entire car industry to invest in
this technology. Not only can we create green collar jobs but also smooth
the way for less polluting transport choices...”
Dermot Kelly, Managing Director Mercedes-Benz UK, said:
“The smart electric drive is exempt from vehicle excise duty and the
London congestion charge and this, underlined with incredibly low
operating costs, means that companies taking part in the trial are finding
it makes perfect fiscal sense.”