Smart Scoots Into The Two-Wheel Game
Smart’s current plan for reviving its fading sales is a Tesla-powered EV version of its Smart ForTwo, which the Daimler-owned firm hopes will keep its city cars moving until a new platform is jointly developed with Renault. Further down the road though, it seems that Smart is moving to expand out of cars, as Autocar reports that the brand is developing a plug-in electric scooter. A senior Mercedes-Benz source tells the British magazine that
Smart was originally established to tackle the need for improved mobility, especially in congested city environments. Up to now we have concentrated our efforts on four-wheel solutions. The next stage is to looking at how to expand beyond this with other environmentally friendly vehicles
Smart is developing the new scooter with several suppliers, and plans to build it at plants in China, India and Thailand if and when it is approved for production. And no wonder: Mercedes is moving downmarket with its next generation of front-drive A/B class vehicles based on the next ForTwo/ForFour platform. Smart’s only chance for success is in a “broad-based mobility strategy” that Mercedes cannot cannibalize. Driven into the EV scooter game, Smart will survive as a brand, but its time as a player in the four-wheel space may just be coming to a close.
This color combination should also work well on skateboards and running shoes.
What is the big deal about building an electric scooter? Electric, batter-powered scooters have been around for awhile actually. Where I live, in China, they're a very common form of transportation. Most can be had for a paltry sum of $300. The more well-built, vespa replica electric scooters run about $500-$700. I wonder how much a Smart scooter will cost. Judging by how much their cars sell for, it'll be far more than they're actually worth.
A cheap 49cc scooter or moped gets easily 80-100 mpg in city traffic, has a range of several hundred kilometers between fillups, and can last for years without serious repairs. When the cheapie finally breaks down completely, you just dispose of it and buy a new one. Even if smart's scooter is well built, reliable and so forth, I doubt its ability to compete with cheaper products. A scooter isn't usually something you spend a lot of money or thought on.
Electric scooters are a curiosity. My brother on his 150cc gas scooter gets ~ 100mpg or so. The scooter cost him $2500 new (I think it's brand name). How much would he actually save (if anything) going electric?