Smart Electric Drive could be first EV with battery lease in US

Release Date: Second quarter of 2013
MSRP: TBA
Battery Pack Size: 17.6 kWh
Electric Range: 87 miles estimated
MPGe: 122 MPGe
Visit the Smart Electric Drive Forum

After making waves last fall by announcing the Smart ED will be the cheapest EV in the US, Smart has been communicating with potential customers to make sure the launch this spring goes smoothly. Smart USA General Manager Tracey Matura said that the initial response to the price announcement was all very positive, and around 2500 people have registered so far with about 40% of those making a reservation with a local dealer. Almost 1500 of those 2500 have asked for more information, and Smart has heard “anecdotally that people are very pleased that there will be a cabriolet version.”

While no lease price for the Smart Electric Drive has been announced yet, Matura did say Smart USA might soon be the only automaker to offer an electric vehicle with a battery lease in the USA. “We haven’t ruled it out,” she said. “I don’t know that it has to be exactly the way they do it in Europe, but there might be some reason to bring something similar to customers here.” Matura went on to say that is why Smart is asking people who are interested why they’re buying the vehicle, why they’re leasing the vehicle. “You can’t do that by looking at what the Prius or what Nissan did, because the Smart customer is different.”

In the US, the Smart ED will be available with the bespoke Tailer Made by Brabus program. Smart USA can also put a wrap on your ForTwo electric for more personalization making more than 6,200 unique combinations of colors available.

Although the Smart Electric Drive will be the cheapest EV in the US, many are critical because it only has 2 seats. While Smart did offer a four door four seat Smart in Europe, it never did in the US. Matura did say “As far as a four-seater, I know it’s in discussion for the US, but I don’t have an answer on that yet.” She went on to say “we’ve had so much success here this year without it, that it’s not necessary.”

One more interesting tidbit: “We’re playing around to see if the electric bike makes sense for the United States. They’re talking about the electric scooter, and if you look at how cities are evolving these days, Smart will just continue to grow and it’s going to grow in that electric role. I think it’s the perfect brand to do it.”

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