Mercedes-Benz has rolled out its one-millionth special smart fortwo electric car to mark its 10th year of production. The anniversary car will be donated to charity, says Mercedes
Ten years ago Merceds-Benz rolled out the smart fortwo, one of the world's most unusual production vehicles in the market. This week, millionth smart fortwo rolled off the production line at the plant in Hambach, France. The millionth fortwo is a new smart electric drive, which will be donated to charity, says Daimler.
New and excitingly different to conventional cars, the smart city coupé, now called the smart fortwo is a compact two-seater vehicle and measures slightly more than two-and-a-half metres in length.
It was also able to fit into parking spaces perpendicular to the flow of traffic and soon established its own class. Nevertheless, it took two people and their luggage to their destination very comfortably and with maximum safety. It also had impressively low fuel consumption and minimum carbon dioxide emissions.
Even then it anticipated many of today's pressing questions concerning individual mobility and answered them in a unique way. After 10 years of production one thing is certain, the idea has caught on. Thanks to technical innovations and a design that combines functionality with joie de vivre, the smart fortwo has become a cult car.
Initially it was only offered for sale in Germany and eight other European countries. But its popularity spread acroos the globe and today it is available in 37 countries worldwide, including the US since January 2000. From mid 2009 the smart fortwo will also go on sale in China as the car is practically tailor-made for the growing number of lifestyle-oriented small car customers in a country with numerous megacities.
In China, too, fashion-conscious young people want an agile, trendy vehicle for their flexible urban lifestyles in order to set themselves apart from others. (Also see: Auto China 2008: Daimler to launch the 'Smart fortwo' in China in 2009)
It is undisputed that the smart fortwo's unique character has already made it an automotive classic, despite its young years. In 2002 the smart fortwo was the only vehicle to be included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York whilst still in series production as a "contemporary design classic of the last decade of the last century".
The anniversary vehicle is an mhd passion with a 52 kW/71 bhp engine in the colour silver metallic. Dr Dieter Zetsche, president and CEO of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, congratulated the team at the Hambach plant on their work.
The new smart fortwo electric drive offers the brand additional growth opportunities: "From the end of 2009 we will produce a small series of the smart fortwo electric drive with a lithium-ion battery," Dr Dieter Zetsche said.
The predecessor of the smart fortwo electric drive, the smart fortwo ev (electric vehicle), celebrated its world premiere in 2006. Since 2007 a fleet with a total of 100 smart fortwo electric drives of the first generation has been tested in everyday service in London. With the new smart fortwo generation the smart with electric drive is also being reengineered. Whereas the first generation of the smart fortwo electric drive is equipped with a sodium-nickel-chloride battery, the second generation will be fitted with a lithium-ion battery. This battery combines higher performance with a long life and high reliability.
The smart fortwo has always been most popular among customers in Italy and Germany: approximately two thirds of drivers of the new fortwo come from these two countries. The high quality "passion" equipment line is particularly popular and is chosen by two thirds of smart customers worldwide. In Germany and Italy every 5th smart driver drives the CO2 champion, the smart fortwo cdi. The economical diesel variant of the two-seater consumes just 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres in accordance with the New European Driving Cycle and emits just 88 grams of CO2 per kilometre - the lowest figure worldwide.
From October both the 52 kW/71 bhp and the 45 kW/61 bhp models will be equipped with mhd technology as standard. These are also the most popular engine variants with customers. This reduces the NEDC consumption by approximately 8 percent to 4.3 litres per 100 km and in urban traffic a fuel saving of almost 20 percent can be achieved.
The internationally renowned Öko-Trend environmental institute has acknowledged the smart fortwo's top position in matters relating to environmental friendliness and awarded it the coveted environmental certificate for cars. Moreover, the smart fortwo has been awarded the ÖkoGlobe by one of Germany's largest insurance companies.
What's more, several renowned trade journals have certified the innovative two-seater's unparalleled economy and environmental friendliness. They came to the unanimous conclusion independently of one another: no car is cheaper to drive.