Thursday, December 17, 2009

Daimler delivers first e-Smart cars in Berlin

Aiming to make urban driving more environmentally friendly, German carmaker Daimler delivered the first fully electric version of its small Smart model in Berlin on Thursday.

Better known for its luxury Mercedes brand, Daimler’s tiny gasoline-powered Smart cars have been fixtures on German city streets for years. But the two vehicles handed over on Thursday will be powered solely by lithium-ion batteries that will take the vehicle a distance of 135 kilometres before needing to be recharged.

“I’ve always been a Smart fan and am proud that I can once again be trendsetter with my electro-Smart,” customer Rolf Bauer said upon getting the keys to his new ride.

Daimler said in a statement that the two Smarts delivered on Thursday represented only the first step in the carmaker’s global “e-mobility” programme, which intends to lease the small two-seater to corporate fleets, as well as business and private customers.

Besides Germany, the company is starting pilot projects with electric Smarts in Italy, Spain, England, France, Switzerland, Canada and the United States to test driver habits and vehicle-related services.

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