Daimler made the smart car brand all-electric in North America last year and now CEO Dieter Zetsche says that they plan to make the same transition in Europe, a much bigger market for the brand, by the end of the decade.
The CEO made the announcement during the company’s annual meeting in Germany last week:
“Daimler also flipped the switch in the field of electric mobility long ago: Mercedes-Benz will offer at least one electrified version in each segment by 2022. smart is already completely electric in North America and the changeover will take place in Europe by 2020. At the same time, we are electrifying our vans, trucks and buses. And we have many more plans – also going beyond our products,”
The moves follow Daimler bringing the electric smart cars under their new Mercedes-Benz EQ family under which they plan to launch the first Mercedes all-electric vehicles built to be electric from the ground up next year.
Daimler already did the transition in the US last year and it resulted in losing about two-thirds of US dealerships.
Once they stopped supplying gas-powered smart cars, only 27 of the 85 Mercedes-Benz dealership in the US that were carrying Smart cars decided to keep selling the sub-brand.
The remaining dealerships are mainly located in California, New York, and other states with zero-emission vehicle mandates.
Prior to the move, Daimler confirmed pricing of the 2017 Smart Fortwo electric drive and it received a small price reduction to a starting MSRP of $23,800 before EV incentives. The 4-seat option is still $28,000.
It feels like they did the change in the US first because the risks were lower since the smart cars weren’t already selling very well in the country. Sales had tumbled to a crawl over the last few years.
On the other hand, they have a healthy market of about 100,000 vehicles per year in Europe.
Therefore, a move to all-electric there over the next 2 years is extremely more significant.
Hopefully, it will come with an updated electric powertrain, which I think is likely now that the electric smart cars are under the Mercedes EQ brand.
As we previously reported, we think that Daimler, the parent company of both the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, is among the legacy automakers most invested in a push toward electrification, mostly with the Mercedes-Benz brand. The company secured manufacturing capacity to produce compact electric vehicles in Germany and unveiled its new battery factory.
The German automaker also recently announced the acceleration of its electric car plans by 3 years and that they will spend $11 billion on 10 models by 2022. The first new all-electric car is expected to hit the market in 2019.