Electric Smart goes live

* Smart ed production goes ahead * Successful UK trials * Plug-in electric power...

Electric Smart goes live

Smart will start production of its Fortwo electric drive (ed) model next year, following successful trials.

A UK-based trial of 100 cars started in December 2007, with cars leased to companies at a monthly cost of £375. Companies and organisations that participated in the trial included the Metropolitan Police, universities, local councils, architects and energy companies.

The Smart ed uses an electric motor that's powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged by plugging the car into a standard domestic socket. Smart says the battery is maintenance-free and can last up to 10 years.

Small-scale production of the Smart ed will start in early 2010 and the vehicles will be available for lease to companies or private individuals.

Dermot Kelly, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz UK said: 'Smart has been leading the way in pioneering environmentally friendly, sustainable concepts for future mobility and we're delighted that the UK trial is proving to be so successful.

' The Smart electric drive is exempt from vehicle excise duty and the London congestion charge and this, underlined with incredibly low operating costs, means it makes perfect fiscal sense for the companies taking part in the trial.'

Smart's ed looks like any other Smart Fortwo and has the same standard of safety kit, including stability control. Top speed is limited to 60mph.