Mercedes-Benz R&D Boss Discusses Smart Fortwo Electric Drive’s 9-Month Wait Time

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 11

smart Advertises a $139* Lease With Battery Assurance Plus On Their Website

smart Advertises a $139* Lease With Battery Assurance Plus On Their Website

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is selling like crazy these days, but there’s a behind-the-scenes issue brewing that’s gone mostly unnoticed.

Smart ED

Smart ED

Automobilwoche recently interviewed Daimler’s research and development chief, Thomas Weber.  During the interview, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive’s production issues were discussed.  The conversation went as follows:

Automobilwoche: The wait time for the Smart ForTwo EV is more than nine months due to the slow ramp-up of the battery factory. Is the problem solved?

Weber: We have reached the point where we can ramp up capacity and cover the demand. At the same time, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has been very successful. With a share of 40 percent for the first half of 2013, it is a clear market leader among all newly registered electric cars in Germany.

Automobilwoche: Yet you are looking at all your options for your joint cell production in Kamenz, including a sale.

Open-Top Fun Starts At $28,000

Open-Top Fun Starts At $28,000

Weber: It is a matter of putting cell production on a long-term basis without any time pressure. At the same time, economies of scale are very important. That is why we are talking to practically every battery manufacturer, from Korea to Japan all the way to the U.S. We have plenty of time since the current battery technology for the Smart will be the basis for the next generation. Incidentally, I am very happy that we launched our own cell production with Evonik. It has given us more expertise than any other automaker.

With the production shortage, we’re not at all surprised that Smart has reportedly pushed back its nationwide US rollout of the Fortwo Electric Drive.  As Edmunds’ reports:

“The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive currently is sold in 28 dealerships in 10 states, including California.  A nationwide rollout is planned for 2014.”

At one point in time, that nationwide rollout was scheduled for September 2013, so we’re thinking that the production issues are already impacting Smart’s electric efforts in the US.

Source: Automotive News Europe

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11 responses to "Mercedes-Benz R&D Boss Discusses Smart Fortwo Electric Drive’s 9-Month Wait Time"

  1. EV says:

    I only waited 2 and a half months for mine, absolutely love it, every ED owner loves their ED, funnest little car, 75+ miles per charge for me no kickdown

    1. Anderlan says:

      Did you buy or lease, if the latter, did you get the $140 deal?

  2. Audi says:

    At least smarts advertised lease price is true and what you will get and not bullshit like fiats, fiat can shove all their 500es. Had a very horrendous time with fiat of thousand oaks. And I haven’t even seen any of them on the road but i’ve seen a few electric smarts around and they are pretty cool cars. Still waiting for the ELR, if i decide to get that then i will have to sell my A7 in replacement for it which im not too excited about but if that doesn’t work out then i may consider getting an electric smart and i’ll be able to keep my beloved Audi.

  3. Anderlan says:

    So, is the fortwo ED’s battery supply problems an example of…Electrile Dysfunction?

  4. Assaf says:

    Eric,

    I saw first-half #s that Smart ED sold nearly 1000 in Germany. Any more up-to-date numbers from Germany?

    Also, I wonder why is each country in Europe monopolized by one EV model at any given time? I thought the EU is, you know, one big happy economic family now 😉

  5. Warren says:

    Earth to California, what is an EV? Here in the hinterlands they don’t exist.

  6. Ocean Railroader says:

    After seeing Europe in real life I think a Smart Car would be a perfect car in a lot of cases with the small parking spaces and high gas prices.

    1. Robert says:

      I live in Vienna and have long thought of getting rid of the ICE. Only trouble is work is on the outskirts of town, so the ICE has to stay for a while. Something like the smart ed would be perfect because of the tight narrow streets and few parking spaces. Hmmm, im getting an idea…..

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      My wife first saw a (regular) smart on vacation in London, where they’re popular for parking and avoiding the congestion charge and considers them “soooo cute”. Unfortunately, the ED just doesn’t have the range to meet needs, otherwise I’d consider one as a 2nd car. smart EDs are a good example of where improved energy density would really make a difference to practicality.

  7. 3ddi3 B says:

    ED’s, I believe is the term in Europe for EV’s, in the US it means “Erectile Dysfunction”.
    Which is really funny! Electric Viagra, anyone?

  8. Reiner says:

    We’ll I got one for 1 month now and as soon the temperature dropped so did the range 50 km on a full charge sucks.