Daimler has been working on electric smart cars for a couple years now. The company has been testing an earlier version of the Smart ED in London since the end of 2007, leasing 100 vehicles to get real-world experience with electric drives. Their success has led to Daimler to expand the project into Berlin, with the help of utility giant RWE. Daimler will test 100 EDs, which run on lithium-ion batteries, while RWE will install 500 electricity charging stations through the city. Small series production of the electric two-seater will start at the end of 2009 and Smart will then deliver the first vehicles to selected customers.
The Smart ED will get 70-90 miles on a charge. The Zytec electric motor is “electronically limited” at 60 mph and Smart claims the ED has a 0-30mph in an “impressive 6.5 seconds”. Either that is a typo or Diamler has an extremely lenient definition of “impressive”. I would be wary to take this car on the highway. Let’s hope they make some performance improvements before 2009.