BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI - The smart brand is in the process of settling in the United States and the company hopes to have a small fleet of electric-powered smart fortwo coupes in the U.S. for tests in about one year, according to an interview with David Schembri, smart USA president, at the New York Auto Show, reported in www.TheCarConnection.com.
Parent Daimler AG began testing a plug-in-electric version of the smart around London last summer. An electric-powered smart is preferable to a hybrid, Schembri said, insisting that lithium-ion is the way to go.
Even though Daimler’s first test of a plug-in smart used a different battery technology, Schembri indicated the U.S. test-fleet will be powered by the new lithium-ion batteries that Daimler plans to introduce in a hybrid version of the big Mercedes-Benz S-Class due out next year.
The launch of the conventional, gas-powered smart fortwo is under way in the United States.
Roger Penske, chairman of the Penske Automotive Group, said during a conference call with analysts last month that smart USA's 68 dealerships should wholesale between 20,000 and 25,000 vehicles this year, provided it can get enough vehicles.