Smart To Offer Battery Rental On ForTwo Electric Drive In The United States

2 years ago by Jay Cole 12

Smart Electric Drive Makes An Appearance On Stage At The New York Auto Show Last Month

Smart Electric Drive Makes An Appearance On Stage At The New York Auto Show Last Month

There is no question there is a lot of electric cars on the market now in the United States, however there isn’t any available where you have the option to either buy or lease the battery, a practise that is common in Europe; such as in the 2013 UK-made Nissan LEAF.

Smart USA is going to change that.

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Also Comes In A Cabrio Version

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Also Comes In A Cabrio Version

In a report filed by the Automobile New Europe, Tracey Matura, head of Smart USA, says the company wants to “minimize the anxiety” that the battery would not outlast the car itself.

As the car goes on sale in the US next month, Smart will offer customers who choose to buy or lease the electric ForTwo, the additional option of renting the battery from the company.

As part of the agreement, Smart warranties the capacity of the lithium pack to stay over 80% usage, otherwise it will be replaced.

Ms. Matura says that an astounding 97% of both purchasers and lessees of the Smart ForTwo ED have also chose to rent the battery, and that has influenced the company to be the first offer then option here in the US.

We thought, why not offer the same in the U.S.?” she said.

Smart ED Drive Starts From $25,000, And Goes On Sale In May

Smart ED Drive Starts From $25,000, And Goes On Sale In May

It has long been thought that US customers were not interested in a battery rental scheme; now that notion will be put to the test in the German automaker’s 68 mile city EV.

As this is a fairly recent development, no US pricing has been set.  However, a good bet is around $75, as Europe battery leases start around 65 euros,.

The electric Smart is priced at $25,000 in the US, a number that would be decently reduced if the battery was not included in the purchase price.  Again looking at the European model, the cost of the car is reduced by about 25% when the battery was rented seperately (for terms of up to 10 years), which would translate to about $19,500 in the US.

Will the battery rental proposition make sense to drivers on this side of the pond?  The answer is still very unclear.  Would you consider purchasing or leasing an EV, then rent the battery seperately to sure “battery anxiety“?

Also recently confirmed for production is the electric ForFour, which will be offered in about 3 years time.

Automotive News Europe

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12 responses to "Smart To Offer Battery Rental On ForTwo Electric Drive In The United States"

  1. kdawg says:

    $5500 price difference / $75 per month = approx 6 year payback. The Leaf was around 4 years. I think at 6 years I would rent the battery. If the monthly price was higher, I’d probably just buy the battery and hope it lasts. Heck, after 8 years I could probably just buy another battery that is much better for cheaper, and I got 8 years of no payments to save up for it.

  2. Mark H says:

    It says two things to me.
    1) That there still is a strong concern over the life of the battery.
    2) That the concern for the most part is unwarranted.

    Sure there will be extreme cases where the battery will need to be replaced like our Phoenix friends. With such a program you have now made a happy customer.

    On the whole however it is a monetary win for the auto manufacturer so they are happy too and can absorb the small sector of bad batteries.

    For the vast majority who will pay more for the lease, they knew that they were buying insurance so they are happy too.

    For the long term owners like myself, it is still better to own.

    1. vdiv says:

      Right. Following the logic for battery lease one should then be able to lease/rent the engine and transmission of an ICE car for fear that they may not last the life of the car. If this sounds a bit absurd then so does the battery lease/rent.

      So if one rents the battery but then decides they want to terminate the lease, say because they want to mothball the car for the winter, do the repossession men come in, lift the car, and snatch the battery away? They cannot take the whole car as the rest is owned by the (former) battery renter.

      This is just too complicated. Either buy the car or sign in for car-share.

      1. kdawg says:

        Or just lease the whole car.

      2. Driverguy01 says:

        exactly what i was thinking! Hey!! Lets rent tires and cupholders and …… wait, maybe there is a business here.

      3. dave says:

        AMEN! Just give us the car already. I have a deposit on one of these things that are sitting at the port in a parking lot while Smart USA irons out details that are totally irrelevant to me since I’m leasing the entire car!

  3. Jay Cole says:

    I am not a big fan of the concept of buying or leasing a car, then putting the battery on a seperately monthly hire…but my preferences are not necessarily that of others.

    Because it is not a forced option, but rather an additional option available to the customer, I think it is a net positive.

  4. Driverguy01 says:

    Can you imagine what kind of resale value such a car would have? 8 year old car with no battery.

    1. dave says:

      Lol…true! So if you did want to sell the car private party…does the new buyer “take over the battery lease?”

      Ridiculous.

  5. Ian says:

    If battery technology follows the same development trajectory as photovoltaic panels, for sure as hell I want to rent. The battery is going to be out of date real quick and that becomes the problem of the renter, not the user.

  6. Delta says:

    You guys are missing the concept. The battery is more like the fuel . Imagine if 6 years of gas was included in the purchase price of your car. It would cost the same as an EV. This scheme makes the EV and ICE work almost the same and cost just about the same. This way the cost of entry is significantly less even though it works out the same in the end.

    And also the fear of degradation, and even obsolecence is reduced.

    So the cost of EV smart is the same as ICE smart. This will be interesting to see how people react in a showroom given the choice.

  7. Dean Jones says:

    Can’t you please find someone to check the spelling and grammar in these articles?