By on February 14, 2017

smart fortwo electric

It would appear that the Smart money is literally on electric cars. Daimler says it plans to stop selling combustion-engined Smart models in North America entirely. If you live in the United States or Canada and want a goofy gas-powered mini car, you’d better buy one now.

Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler has issued a letter to dealers explaining that the sale of Smart cars with gasoline engines will stop when the 2017 model year ends this fall.

“Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio,” Exler wrote in the letter obtained by Reuters. “A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.”

According to Daimler, the change does not apply to other markets outside North America, where small cars sales haven’t weakened quite so badly. In fact, Smart’s European sales have bounced back sharply after a five-year slump that began in 2010. Last year was particularly good for the company across the pond, but the brand continued to flounder in both the United States and Canada.

Mercedes-Benz sold 8,086 Smart cars in North America last year, thanks largely to consistently lower gasoline prices and decreasing interest in small cars. Meanwhile, electric cars remain a niche but consistently growing segment. Despite the limitations of having a diminished range and no backseat, Smart’s Fortwo Electric Drive should remain the preeminent vehicle for on-street parking in the country’s densest cities.

Daimler has updated the little EV’s styling and battery for 2017. While the previous Smart EV petered out at 68 miles, the new model is is expected to be capable of a more-livable range close to 100 miles when it arrives this spring.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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25 Comments on “Daimler’s Smart Will Kill Its Internal Combustion Engines Before Year’s End...”

  • avatar

    They sold 8,000 in NA last year.

    They should probably just stop.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    A 100-mile Smart EV could be perfect for city commuting, courier, and delivery services.

  • avatar

    Agree. The car has a “0” (Zero) rating Long Term Quality Index.

  • avatar

    Those are cute little sh1ts, even tallish, but they’re so damn expensive and an EV will only be more so. Like the green/black a lot.

  • avatar
    George B

    The main selling point for the Smart is that it’s shape allows it to fit into small parking spots on residential side streets in the city. How does the owner charge his or her electric Smart parked on the street?

    • 0 avatar

      “How does the owner charge his or her electric Smart parked on the street?”

      Maybe a really long extension cord?

    • 0 avatar

      Wireless charging using a conviently located Tesla coil?

    • 0 avatar

      Until today, one could get a special “Electric Car Parking Only” sign here in Philadelphia. One would have an electrician install a street side charger in front of your house – you would control it from the house, so not anyone could pull up and recharge on it. There was a permit cost involved with this, so there was a revenue source for the city. People have complained, though – why should electric car owners get a semi-guaranteed parking spot in front of their house when gasoline powered vehicle owners could not? So now the policy is “under review.”

  • avatar

    If these things weren’t so expensive, they’d make great fleetbait for onsite security companies and large industrial facilities. Governor/restrictor should be optional. Strip them down and lease them by the half-dozen with charging station in a package deal.

  • avatar

    This seems like the first step before they pull smart out of North America altogether – as much as the electric smart is plenty for urban usage, the smart’s primary selling feature is still parallel parking ability (for the very niche market that needs a car, and uses exclusively on-street parking). That’s not a customer that has easy access to charging.

    Presumably it also means they’re looking to move away from the smart for Car2Go as well, as they’re pushing for on-street parking in most of their markets, I think.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Unexpected, but not surprising. Better find your unicorn 5-speed while you can.

  • avatar

    I look forward to seeing car2go smarts being replaced by their electric counterparts. It would make sense for their short burst trips, especially since they are now supplemented by CLA and GLA for longer trips.

    As for private buyers, I don’t know any (urban) smart owners with their own car garage, so I’m not sure how this would work.

  • avatar

    The Smart’s problem is simple. For the same money, you can buy any number of cars better suited to driving in North America. The Smart may make sense on narrow streets in European cities. Over here, it’s a solution in search of a problem.

  • avatar

    These things are going to sell like hotcakes on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Buy stock now while you can.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I was hoping that the head line would read “Daimler In Smart Move Decides to Kill Smart Car Before They Smart Anymore.”

  • avatar

    Take a look at how Smart performed in the ADAC Ecotest if you want to know the real reason why they have to stop using ICE’s in these things.

  • avatar

    Well it reads, “Daimler says it plans to stop selling combustion-engined Smart models in North America entirely.”

    It should read, “Daimler says it plans to stop selling Smart models entirely.”

  • avatar

    I’ve been car shopping for my 16yo daughter (she takes her driving test this morning), and these things are showing up on My top dollar amount is $5000, and I saw three of these (2014s) last night for under $5000. One with 13,000 miles for $4,979, one with 25k for $4,669, and one with 29k for $4,979.

    The depreciation is off a cliff.

  • avatar

    Also several Fiat 500e models for under $6k, with less than 30,000 miles.

  • avatar

    Where are you going to charge the batteries if you live in a dense urban environment? I say this as a lifelong New York City resident.

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