Think of a Smart car and you’ll think ‘small’. Its what everyone perceives this particular marque to be. So it isn’t a suprise when they decide to go even smaller.
Ofcourse, by that it doesn’t mean that the interior’s cabin gets downsized so much so that you’d need to be a contortionist just to fit yourself in a Smart vehicle. In fact, their doing away with the cabin, so technically, you’ve got more room now. However, you’ve got two less wheels for your daily commutes as well.
Smart may be debuting a new plug-in electric scooter at the upcoming Paris Motor Show and according to a “senior Mercedes-Benz official”: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 look at how to expand beyond this with other environmentally friendly vehicles.
Smart is set to reveal a new electric-powered, single track vehicle at the Paris motor show in September, in what sources at parent company Mercedes-Benz describe as the first step in a newly established diversification plan for its stuggling city car division.
The new two-wheeler, which is said to take the form of a plug-in scooter, is being developed as part of a new broad-based mobility strategy aimed at taking Smart into market segments beyond that occupied by its newly facelifted Fortwo and an upcoming rear-engined,-rear-wheel-drive successor to its short-lived Forfour that’s due to be launched in 2013.
Insiders at the German car maker’s headquarters in Stuttgart say the new Smart scooter is being developed in conjunction with prominent component supplier companies and that it could be produced in a number of different factories around the world, including existing plants in China, India and Thailand if a production go-ahead is granted.
Mercedes-Benz recently entered into a €150m (£125m) initiative with German energy supplier ENBW that will see up to 500 electric scooters placed on the streets of Stuttgart in coming months. The co-operation, which will see the establishment of dedicated charging stations around the city, is described as being a central component in plans to create an infrastructure for the beginning of in-the-field testing of the new Smart within the next 12 months.
The new plug-in electric Smart scooter is seen as a response to BMW’s efforts to revive the clever but expensive C1 – the roof-toting bike developed and produced in a partnership between BMW, Bertone and Rotax – as a pure electric vehicle, as previewed by last year’s C1-E concept.