Daimler's R&D boss Thomas Weber has been speaking bullishly about the company's plans for electric drive vehicles. In an interview with German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Weber said that Daimler would be building several hundred electric vehicles by 2010, and ramping that up to 10,000 by 2012. Prototype lithium ion powered Smart ForTwos and Mercedes A-Class should appear next year with low volume production starting the following year. Daimler is already testing battery powered Smart ForTwo EDs in the UK and is now planning to expand that pilot program to Berlin and possibly Paris and Rome. The current Smarts have a 60 mile range and Daimler research shows that 80 percent of Europeans drive less than 30 miles a day. There was no mention of US testing of the electric Smart in spite of earlier reports that the car could be field tested in Southern California in 2009.
Weber says that Daimler is also continuing development of fuel cell vehicles.