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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 Defends fortwo Crash Results

IIHS insists microcar has serious safety issues.

by on Apr.16, 2009

The IIHS initially gave the Smart fortwo a top crash rating, but it was downgraded after a new test -- which Smart officials insist is not a good, real-world indicator.

The IIHS initially gave the Smart fortwo a top crash rating, but it was downgraded after a new test -- which Smart officials insist is not a good, real-world indicator.

Smart USA is defending its two-seat microcar, the fortwo, in the face of problems it experienced during a new test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The respected IIHS said that despite early good marks, a new crash test shows some serious problems for the microcar.

The results are certain to stimulate new debate over whether American motorists are really prepared to switch to minicars as a potential solution to future gas price hikes.  The institute’s findings suggest that size really does matter.

In a May 2008 test, shortly after the first fortwo went on sale in the U.S., the IIHS gave the microcar a “top rating.”  But a new test, where a Smart was crashed into the front of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, at 40 mph, didn’t fare so well, IIHS President Adrian Lund declaring “the safety trade-offs are clear.”

However, Dave Schembri, president of Smart USA, insisted the kind of crash simulated by the insurance industry-funded institute was rare.”The test used an extremely high crash severity which is unlikely to occur in real world crashes. In fact, less than 1 percent of all crashes fall within these parameters,” Schembri said.

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