Sci-tech

Smart drops engines; to be EV-only brand in the US

Smart drops engines; to be EV-only brand in the US

Gas prices have stayed low and demand for crossovers remains high, which leaves the small-car manufacturer looking up at a Sisyphean task.

"The Smart lineup will consist exclusively of the zero emissions smart electric drive coupe and cabrio (convertible) in the USA and Canada", Mercedes Benz said in a statement.

Mercedes-Benz USA sold 6,211 Smart cars past year, down 16% over 2015, as US gasoline prices have remained low.

According to a new report from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Smart North America (Canada and the U.S.) is done selling gas vehicles. "As a result, Smart will discontinue sales of the gasoline-powered Fortwo and Fortwo Cabrio for the US and Canadian markets after model year 2017", he added.

Smart's shift to electric will start this summer.

The newest battery-powered Smart vehicle uses an electric motor that zaps the rear wheels with 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque.


As a city runabout and second auto, Smart's Fortwo with an electric powertrain make a ton of sense, with an estimated range of 76 miles in regular city driving conditions.

"Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current Smart product portfolio", the statement reads.

The 8-foot, 8-inch long auto will provide 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, with a battery that offers between 70 and 80 miles on a single charge.

In a letter to dealers obtained by Cars.com, Smart announced the demise of gasoline versions of both the hardtop and convertible ForTwo, but said it still plans to sell the ForTwo Electric Drive, a battery-powered version of the auto. From that point on, the company's US and Canadian lineup will consist only of an electric coupe and a matching convertible.

Moran did not specify whether the electrified transition would affect the 85 Smart dealerships in the U.S.


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