Smart Done With Gas Cars In US, Will Now Only Offer Electric Vehicles!

6 months ago by Jay Cole 70

You want a gas version of this? Too darn bad!

According to a new report from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, smart North America (US and Canada) is done selling gas vehicles!  The first automaker (and we hope not the last) to take that stance!

Only All-Electric In Here!

The magazine cites a letter from Mercedes-Benz HQ to local dealers by US boss Dietmar Exler saying that sales of vehicles with combustion engines will be discontinued in September.

The September cut-off basically means that the 2017 lineup will include petrol and electric vehicles, but the 2018s will only be all-electric.

In North America, smart offers just the Fortwo Electric Drive, and the Fortwo Cabrio Electric Drive, the Forfour is not offered in the region.

“Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio,” Exler said in a statement. “A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.”

Last year, Smart sold 6,211 cars, of which just 657 where all-electric – albeit sales were in a limited/inventory constrained fashion as just the last generation 2016s were being sold off ahead of a brand refresh that arrives this month for the electric versions.  Smart ED sales have been as high as 2,594 units (2014).

Besides some exterior and interior design tweaks, that refresh also bumps all-electric range in the US from 68 miles to 75 miles for 2017.

Automotive News, Reuters

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70 responses to "Smart Done With Gas Cars In US, Will Now Only Offer Electric Vehicles!"

  1. Brian says:

    Flux Capacitor.

  2. Daniel says:

    Using an unobtainium cathode material!

  3. Bill Howland says:

    I really liked the Smart Electric Drive when I test drove one – I would have bought one on the spot if it had a decent battery (my almost only reason for putting a downpayment on a 2017, 323 mile (euro cycle) Bolt EV).

    Alas, only a GAS version at the autoshow this year.

    1. mattack says:

      I have a smart (have since the end of 2013), and am selling my other car (which has been sitting doing nothing in my garage). Sure, more range would be good, but it has BY FAR enough for me day to day.

  4. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Gas version of the Smart sucks so bad that you would wish you have the electric version…

    1. SparkEV says:

      Or wish for Tesla version of SmartED. I’d be pulling wheelies all the time! 🙂

      1. CanaDoc says:

        Tesla just did the batteries. The drivetrain in that edition is a little Zytek 55kW unit. The current gen has far more jam.

      2. Michael says:

        Stay tuned for an upcoming EV West project. 🙂

        1. MMercury says:

          Then I’ll be waiting for Jehu’s vlog. Don’t forget the wheelie bars.

          1. Malevolence says:

            Seconded! I wonder how much rubber they’ll get on the back of one of those, haha?!

      3. Vexar says:

        I’ve driven a Smart Electric on a private test track. It is a lot of fun. If they upped the battery capacitance and flow, I’m sure that it would be quite the car. It’s about as safe in a collision as an empty carton, however.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          Wreck photos, of Smart vs. Town&Country, still weird me out.

    2. Michael Will says:

      Isnt that generally true and not just for the Smart?

      I would not trade my eGolf for a gas golf ever, but I would trade it for a model 3 🙂

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        ICE Smart is extra sucky if you ever get the “chance” to try it…

        It isn’t all that efficient either. So, beside the ease of parking, there are absolutely no reason to buy it.

  5. jim stack says:

    The Smart is a very cost effective electric for 2 or less people. Most commuters (70%) drive alone. As a 2nd car it’s great. Also easy to park.
    A 4 seat Smart will be even Smarter and should be in the USA soon from what I’ve read.

    1. ffbj says:

      Here is the Ford announcement. 10 minutes to say something that could be said in 1.

  6. unlucky says:

    Good riddance of that awful SMART transmission (that the EV doesn’t have).

  7. speculawyer says:

    The SMART car sucked. Bad transmission, TERRIBLE aerodynamics, terrible MPG, etc.

  8. Nix says:

    Going from 68 to 75 miles in range pretty much means they’ve done practically nothing except go with whatever battery cell improvements have happened since they started building these for the EU market in 2009. That’s well below commodity lithium cell rate of improvement.

    They will have gone 9 years with no substantive increase in capability. They really are aiming at a specific niche market with this one, along with the 500e.

    It is a good thing this isn’t MB’s only EV choice, so EV buyers have something else to choose from if they want something more.

    As others said, at least it isn’t the bad-gas version of this car….

  9. Someone out there says:

    The SMART car is the ultimate city car and what is better for that than an electric drivetrain?

    1. CLIVE says:

      No thank you.

      To bloody small.

      1. Michael Will says:

        Except for when you are in SF where parking spots are super crowded and there are some between two driveways that are just too short for most cars but work for the Smart.

        1. Devin Serpa says:

          At that point one would wonder wht a bike is not an option in that circumstance.

          1. Denis says:

            Not everyone has a luxury of the shower at work.

            1. ArkansasVolt says:

              how about an electric motorcycle?

              http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/motorcycles/

              1. Nix says:

                Not everybody wants to take a shower on the way to work when it rains…

                My experience with having a motorcycle as my only form of transportation for a number of months in Seattle was that it really got old quick.

  10. blandman says:

    It is no longer competitive at $25k for only 70-80 miles range. For $5k more you can get a Bolt with 200+ miles range.

    1. Someone out there says:

      The Bolt is $37500 before incentives so it’s quite a bit more. But I still agree that $25k is too much for a car that is limited to the city. Granted, it’s good at what it does but it doesn’t do very much. It should be below $20k.

      1. Joe Schuch says:

        The US lease for the Smart ED starts at $135/mo. Ours is $145 @ 12k miles/yr. Plus $60/mo electric and it’s a pretty sweet deal. 2 months after we got ours, a truck rear-ended our Mercedes. We never replaced it! We’ve been a 1-car household ever since!

        1. Phil Durham says:

          60 month is double what I spend for fuel in my 09 passion cabriolet with a 300 mile range before refueling

    2. Brian says:

      37,500-25,000 = 12.5k, not 5k. Still, point taken

  11. David Murray says:

    Makes me wonder if they would prefer to discontinue the entire brand in the USA, but they still need ZEV credits so they will just keep the EV models?

    I find it hard to believe they have “seen the light” or anything. You would think they would at least try to get the range up to 100 miles if it will be the only Smart being sold. I think at this stage, anything with less than 100 miles is destined to fail.

    1. Someone out there says:

      This car is a 100% city car. You don’t want to go anywhere far with it and it’s not what it is made for. Long range isn’t necessary but it does need to be cheaper.

      1. 100% needs 100 Miles Range, just for Basic Computing + Errands, largely because of its relatively slow onboard Charger @ 3.3 kW, & lack of any CCS or CHAdeMO Quick Charger capabilities!

        The slower the onboard charging, the more base range needed to avoid painfully slow charging stops!

        Also, 100 miles EPA Range, means just 75-80 miles safe real range, at best in cold winter weather; so 75 miles EPA range = 49-55 miles safe range in the cold winter weather!

        1. Mike I. says:

          Agree. This car should have 100 EPA miles of range. In any case, good riddance to the terrible gas version of this car.

  12. CLIVE says:

    Smart!

  13. Kdawg says:

    Time for a redesign for a pure BEV. No need to accommodate ICE features. Maybe they can come up w/a better package w/more range.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      Lol, dust off the Tesla prototype that had more range and awesome performance, circa 2009.

    2. Nix says:

      They will continue to build the ICE for other markets, so there is no way they will redesign it for the US market.

      1. CHris says:

        And the design is quite ready for electrification. Rearwheeldrive, the battery between the axels, the car was constructed for beeing used as an EV from the beginning.
        I only wonder why they did not use the better chemistry from LG, that they use in the new Zoe, since everything else that drive the car is a Zoe, e.g. the engine and stuff.

        1. Kdawg says:

          I’m thinking better aerodynamics, since that is very important for BEVs, and adjusting the packaging so they can fit more kWh of battery.

          1. Just_Chris says:

            The original concept was electric, but in 1996 there was no demand or need for it to be electric so they put a petrol engine in it.

            The car’s odd shape is so that there is plenty of room for the driver, great visibility and to allow you to fit a full weeks shopping in the back.

            IMO the only design change required is the addition of a fast charge port and potentially a modest increase in the range. My personal opinion is that the smart car should remain as a practical city car that can be used on the freeway occasionally.

            I think what you are describing is a smart roadster EV, which I think is a fantastic idea. A small, fun roadster for a reasonable price would be a great little addition to the EV world. It wouldn’t sell in huge numbers but with a fast charge option I think it would find a select fan club.

            1. Just_Chris says:

              BTW the volume of the back of a Smart car is matched to the volume of a single shopping trolley and is high enough so that you don’t strain your back taking the shopping out when you are at home. The whole car is designed around human ergonomics and ease of use rather than aerodynamics and race track handling.

  14. Tim says:

    I love my 14′ Smart ED. My lease payment was $54/month with 4k down! Bigger battery and quick charge is perfect. And I can fit a 50 gallon water heater in mine with tools! Tesla modle 3 on order though. I will miss it

  15. Yogurt says:

    Good news and hopefuly they will bring the four also and give a slight range bump to 100 for the large western cities along with a price decrease to boost sales…

    1. CHris says:

      The ForFour does spot the same tiny battery than the ForTwo, only TPTB know why. So you only get a bigger car with the same short range…

  16. Brian says:

    “The first automaker (and we hope not the last) to take that stance!”

    Hmm, Tesla is not an automaker?

    1. Michael Will says:

      He meant the first legacy automaker. Tesla is legendary, not legacy.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Well, I think readers get the drift/sentiment, they (smart) are the first automaker to be “done selling gas vehicles” in the US…and Tesla never sold any of those.

    2. Devin Serpa says:

      Tesla never sold gas cars, so Smart is the first to ditch gas. At least in one market.

  17. Ev Raiders says:

    A fold up bike would be a nice standard feature.

  18. Timmy says:

    They really should have called it the smart ER. Aside from that being an actual and accurate *word*, ED has quite negative connotations!

    1. The ‘smart EV’, is the right name! An ER model, maybe should have an ‘Extended Range’, of 100+ miles, to justify the ‘ER’ Nomenclature!

      1. Stan1 says:

        ER has the same bad connotations for a small vehicle.

  19. Just_Chris says:

    I had an ICE smart for 3 years pre children and it prepared me perfectly for ev ownership.

    The first thing anyone ever does when you tell them you have a smart car is real off a massive list of reasons why they couldn’t ever own one. They then proceed to tell you how awful the car is and how niche it is.

    So let me tell you, from first hand experience, that if you live or drive regularly into a crowded city on your own or with one other person this car is a dream. If you only drive sortish distances then the smart ev will be a fantastic car for you. Forget about the guy who drives his drum kit and 8 children 200 miles a day, there are mainstream cars for him.

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      This is the same great benefit I have found owning a Spark EV. Lots of parallel parking in my neighborhood and when I go downtown. I can fit that tiny little thing in between pretty much anything. I imagine owning a Smart is even easier.

      Anyone from a far flung suburb with a 2 car garage or a reserved parking space just doesn’t understand the convenience lol

  20. Denis says:

    And now Tesla fanboys would start claiming Smarts as compliance cars.

    1. Steven says:

      Until it’s sold in all the states of the “Lower 48”, what else would you call it? Vaporware?

      1. Would not Gas cars give off more Vapor?

        How about “Sparkware”, as a new term for limited or no supply EV’s? Like the current US Version of the Mitsubishi PHEV SUV? (Hard to remember the name of the car, since it hasn’t made it here, yet! After being promised so many times!)

  21. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    People aren’t buying efficient gasoline vehicles, so it makes sense that they’d dump it.

    The Smart ED will get them some credits but with no DC charging I’ll bet they’ll be loading up the incentives.

    (My wife had a quick drive of the Smart ED 2-3 years ago and didn’t like it. She found it unresponsive, which presumably means that it has long pedal travel.

  22. Denis says:

    Yay, the first one.

    Compare the maps. If you are to believe the official site, wherever there is a Smart stealership, ED versions should be also available, at least on order.

    https://www.smartusa.com/find-a-dealer?model=proxy-coupe

    https://www.smartusa.com/find-a-dealer?model=electric-coupe

    And here is the link to autotrader. The old and new ones are dispersed all over the contiguous states.

  23. Brandon says:

    Exactly what I was going to say. Those potential buyers who live in cold climates need to know that 30% less range is very possible in any EV. And don’t give me the line about pre warming and climate control hyper miling. Let’s be real.

    100 miles plus range is definitely needed, because as an EV gets older and older it gets less range because of some battery degradation.

    1. Stan1 says:

      Not true. The larger the initial range, the smaller the cold (or hot) weather impact as a percentage of range. It is more noticeable in EVs but the same effect exists for all vehicles.

  24. Stan1 says:

    Instead of “not true”, I should have written “more accurately”.

  25. bjrosen says:

    There is a basic flaw in the plan for dropping ICE Smart cars. The Smart is strictly a city car, the idea of driving one on a highway is terrifying, but driving around a city at 20MPH is fine and it’s tinyness is a big plus in a crowded city where parking spaces are hard to find. The 75 mile range, while laughable in suburban and rural settings, is fine for a car that never leaves a city. The problem arises in charging, the one virtue of the Smart, it’s ability to park in half of a parking space, is only valuable to people who don’t own parking spaces and if your don’t own a parking space you can’t put up an EVSE. If you do own a parking space then a Bolt or a Volt is much more appealing. Both are small enough to make parking relatively easy, but they aren’t limited to city only driving.

    1. Denis says:

      Exactly. If Smart had 2C DC charging to 80% and 5k less in price, that would be a no brainer for appartment dwellers. At current offering I would still drive my 1st gen gas propelled Smart ForTwo which is even 20cm shorter in length.

  26. Ken Roach says:

    I wonder what this means for Car2Go, the car-sharing service with an all Smart fleet ?

    I know that they used Smart EVs to a limited extent in San Diego and Amsterdam, and gasoline in all the rest of their markets.

    Car2Go has always been experimental; they’ve already ended operations in some markets (like Minneapolis) when the operations didn’t work out like they’d hoped.

    My opinion is that curbside charging infrastructure is what can make EV car-sharing work, and I don’t see it in US markets where Car2Go operates.

    1. Denis says:

      They can still import gas cars if they want to. Given the wholesale orders, MB of US would be more than willing to help them. Existing privately owned cars still need to be serviced, so no shortage of parts in the near future at MB stealerships.

      In my part of the world we had imported Smarts long before Daimler started to sell them officially. Several Smart specific garage wrenching quickly emerged and handled all the required servicing.

      So nothing catastrophic.

  27. BraveLilToaster says:

    Oh. So they’re done selling the Smart in the US at all then. They only sold 56 in January. Their numbers are disastrous.