Smart drops engines; to be EV-only brand in the US

The pint-sized cars will only be available in EV form.

"Developments within the micro-car sector provide some obstacles for the present smart product portfolio", Exler wrote. "A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the US and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future". The brand peaked in 2014 when it sold 10,453 vehicles in the United States, but sales dropped to 6,211 units a year ago. Beginning in September with the 2018 model year, the lineup will only be offered as the Smart Electric Drive coupe and convertible. Additionally, there's a roughly $10,000 difference between the list price of a gas-powered Smart Fortwo (about $15,000) and last year's Smart Electric Drive (upwards of $25,000).

Those pressures are likely to include the rise in affordable compacts from rival manufacturers, which in some cases offer space for four to five in a footprint not much larger than that of the ForTwo, not to mention stronger economy figures from hybrids despite being significantly larger.

According to a new report from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Smart North America (Canada and the U.S.) is done selling gas vehicles. That'll charge in around 2.5 hours from a 240V outlet, though fast-charging could cut that to 45 minutes. Despite their small size, gas-powered Smart vehicles were still getting just over 30 mpg.

Hopefully, the move proves successful and Daimler converts the brand to electric outside of North America also.

  • Arturo Norris