Soon when you see Smart cars zipping by on the streets of North America, there’s a good chance they’ll be powered by electricity. Automotive company Daimler said in a letter they’ll stop selling gas-powered Smart cars in the United States and Canada, and instead will sell only electric versions of their micro cars in those countries.
German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung broke the news based on a letter they obtained, reviewed by Reuters. Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler wrote the letter to car dealerships in North America informing them the car company will cease selling combustion engine Smart cars in the fall when the 2017 model year is finished.
The fortwo, fortwo cabrio, and forfour will all be offered as electric vehicles. A 17.6 kilowatt-hour battery will power the cars, which all have around 100 miles of range and a top speed of 80 miles per hour, according to the car company. The German prices for the cars are between $25,000 and $28,000, according to Electrek, although they note prices could vary slightly in the United States. Depending on the final prices, when electric vehicle incentives are accounted for, the sharp little electric cars could end up being quite affordable.
Exler writes, “Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio. A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.” Markets outside of America and Canada will still have access to gas-powered cars.
Mercedes-Benz USA sold just 6,211 Smart cars in 2016, while global sales totaled 144,479. Reuters points to Exler’s recent letter as the latest signal showing the small car market is struggling in America.