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Daimler Investing Around $8 Bil on “Green” Powertrains by 2018.

New, 300-mile electric Mercedes set to debut at Paris Motor Show.

by on Jun.13, 2016

Mercedes plans to launch a new hydrogen car with a plug-in battery system to boost mileage.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG will invest more than seven billion euros, or $8 billion, on green powertrains over the next two years – about half of its total R&D budget — the automaker said today.

That effort will include a mix of different technologies, including fuel-cell vehicles and clean diesels, as well as various battery drive systems. The maker said that “all” of its vehicle lines will be “electrified” by 2020, with sales of such models expected to be in the “six figures” by then, according to Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber.

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“We will electrify all Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series step by step,” said Weber,the executive last week announcing that a prototype of a new models capable of 500 kilometers, or about 310 miles per charge, will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show in October.

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First Drive: 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

by on Aug.07, 2013

The third-generation Smart ED's new, lower price tag could be its biggest selling point.

It’s become one of the more familiar silhouettes on the road – not necessarily a good thing considering the Smart fortwo has been around in Europe since before the turn of the Millennium and in U.S. showrooms since 2007. That said, the maker is rolling out an all-new version worth another look: the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive – or, if you prefer for a car this small, let’s just call it the ED.

This is the third-generation battery car for Daimler AG’s microcar brand and the most ambitious, which is probably understandable considering it is also the most functional and enjoyable version of the ED yet. The 2013 Smart battery car is faster, delivers better rage and steers and handles better than its predecessors.

But what could be the most effective selling point for the third-generation Smart Fortwo ED is the price tag. The maker launched the 2013 model at $199 a month.  That included a $119 charge for the car itself and another $80 a month for the new Battery Assurance Plan.  In other words, customers lease the battery separately from the car itself. Oddly, the package actually came in at half the earlier lease price for the entire vehicle, battery included.  But to make the Fortwo ED even more appealing, Smart is now dropping the package price for the Coupe to just $139 a month.

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Smart Slashing Price for New Electric Drive Model

Maker also introduces extended battery protection program.

by on Aug.07, 2013

Smart is dropping the lease price on the Fortwo Electric Drive by nearly a third.

Taking a cue from competitors who have boosted sales by cutting costs, Smart has trimmed the monthly lease price of its Fortwo Electric Drive, or ED, model by nearly a third – while also introducing a new “Battery Assurance Plan” meant to assure the vehicle delivers the promised performance and range as long as it is in an owner’s hands.

The microcar division of Daimler AG – and sister to the Mercedes-Benz brand – Smart introduced its third-generation Electric Drive model earlier this year, company officials insisting they are committed to battery power for the long haul despite the slow growth in demand for the clean, lower-cost alternative.

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“We feel it’s a no-brainer. It just makes sense,” said Smart’s new General Manager Mark Webster, during an introduction of the latest Fortwo ED model and the new battery warranty program.

Motorists can still buy the battery version of the Smart Fortwo but the maker is encouraging them to lease the vehicle instead. When the gen-3 ED was launched the maker had priced it at $199 a month – which actually included $119 for the car itself and another $80 a month for the Battery Assurance Plan. The new price drops to just $139 a month, Webster announced.

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3rd Generation Smart Electric Goes into Production

Price jumps sharply over original plans, however.

by on Jun.13, 2012

Production of the Smart ED launches at the maker's plant in Hambach, France.

Production of the third-generation Smart Electric Drive, or ED, has begun and buyers in Germany will soon be able to plug them into the nearest charging station.

But buyers will have to accept a sharp price increase, about 20% above what Smart officials had indicated just last autumn when they announced plans for the new battery car.  But the Gen-3 Smart ED will also get better performance and range than was originally planned.

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The new version of the 2-seater will initially launch in Germany but is expected to then roll out in 30 other markets, including North America.

Just last September, Smart CEO Annette Winkler had indicated, “We are offering the new electric smart within our sale&care model for considerably less than EUR 16,000 before tax – plus less than EUR 60 per month for battery rental.”

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Smart to Preview New Battery Car in Frankfurt

Maker will also unveil new battery-powered bicycle.

by on Aug.16, 2011

Smart adds range and boosts performance with the third-generation Fortwo Electric Drive.

Daimler’s troubled Smart car brand hopes to charge up consumers when it rolls out an all-new version of the Fortwo Electric Drive at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Smart claims the third-generation battery drive system will deliver both better range and improved acceleration, trimming by 1.5 second the time needed to reach 60 kmh.  The newest version of the Fortwo Electric Drive is expected to go on sale in 30 markets – including North America – during the second quarter of 2012.  And Smart parent Daimler AG anticipates the improvements will yield a five-fold increase in sales compared to the outgoing battery car.

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Meanwhile, Smart has also announced it will move ahead with plans to diversify its line-up with the launch of a new “eBike.”

Smart initially launched a limited production version of the Fortwo ED last year.  But it received complaints about sluggish performance and limited range.  To overcome those concerns, the maker has shifted to a new version of the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery and revised the motor drive system, as well.

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