Drivers' electric fears allayed in Fortwo trial
26 November 2008
Smart has now delivered all 100 of its electric Fortwo ED models to the fleets and local authorities trialling the technology.
The last few cars have been delivered to fleets in eight UK locations. While half are predictably in London - due to the congestion charge exemption, the car's compact dimensions and frequency of short journeys - others have landed in places as diverse as Newcastle and Jersey. The first deliveries took place in 2007, but Smart's capability to produce just 15 cars per month has meant the project is only now up to full speed.
Fleets are leasing the models for £380 per month, and have between one and seven cars on a four-year contract.
Tom Morrison-Jones, Smart's manager of the ED?project, said the biggest thing the firm has learned so far is that it takes a few weeks for drivers to build confidence in electric power.
"When they take delivery they're scared to run it at below 50% charge. Confidence comes over three or four weeks," he said. "We haven't had a single incident where the user has run out of energy."
The Smart ED has a range of 50-70 miles and can be 80% charged in three hours or fully charged in eight.
Smart is pushing the Government to develop a recharging infrastructure.
"It's early days but we're encouraged by the Government's recognition of the need for an infrastructure and to incentivise energy firms to produce greener electricity," said Morrison-Jones.
The Smart ED will go into full production in 2012.