Brooklyn, New York – The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive made its debut in the U.S. yesterday, in preparation for a program this fall that will place electric drive vehicles in select regions of the country.

“The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is the ultimate statement on innovative automotive conservation and further defines the brand’s independent spirit,” said Jill Lajdziak, president of Smart USA. “As the United States sets goals on CO2 reduction and oil independence, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive enters the market at the right time and in the right place as the purist’s play in transportation electrification with a no-compromise design.”

Daimler developers anticipated the need for an alternative powertrain and factored the integration of electric drive components into the first Smart concept more than 20 years ago.

Smart USA will begin deploying a fleet of 250 electric drive vehicles across the United States this fall, targeting key electrification leadership cities and Department of Energy grant areas. Partners for vehicle placement with municipalities and organizations will be announced later this year, with series production for consumer sales beginning in 2012 with the 2013 model year.

The U.S. fleet is the second phase of a three-phase program, which began in 2007 with the placement of 100 electric drive units in London. The second phase is producing 1,500 cars for cities in Canada, the U.S., Europe and select Asian markets. The first deliveries started in Germany late last year. The third phase will be series volume production, starting in the 2012 model year.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive vehicles arriving in the U.S. are powered by a 30 kW drive motor and lithium-ion battery. Charging from 20 to 80 per cent of capacity takes three and a half hours on a standard 220-volt outlet, with full charging taking less than eight hours. The batteries can also be recharged using a common household 110-volt outlet. The vehicle can reach highway speeds and offer a range of 132 km on a single charge.

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