That battery-swapping thing may be a little much for most electric-vehicle drivers to handle, but battery leasing is apparently right up their alley, judging by early sales of the Smart Fortwo ED battery-electric vehicle.

The Fortwo EV, which went into production a year ago in France and started US sales on May 10, moved 60 units during those three weeks of May sales, with all but seven of the drivers opting for the battery-leasing option, Inside EVs says, citing an interview with Smart USA chief Mark Webster. More than half the EVs were sold in California; about a quarter were convertibles. Sales were "where we expected it," Webster told Inside EVs.

Smart sells the Smart ED for about $20,000 without the battery, and leases the battery for around $80 a month. Battery-inclusive leases run $199 a month.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      The smart has faster acceleration that the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        The Smart ED - From ABG: Engine:Electric Magneto Motor Power:74 hp; 96 lb-ft of torque Transmission:Single Gear 0-60 Time:11.5 Seconds Top Speed:78 MPH Drivetrain:Rear-Wheel Drive Curb The Subaru BRZ, from MotorTrend - 0-60 6.4 seconds
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      The convertible is kinda tempting . . . but I think I'd like something a bit bigger and better looking. I'd love something like the VW Cabriolet in electric form.
      Kimmi
      • 2 Years Ago
      It makes sense, if you think of it, not only the purchasing price is lower, but the buyer also gets assured that the batteries can be swapped if new, improved batteries appear, preventing the car to turn obsolete.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kimmi
        It makes sense to some one who knows nothing about today's automotive lithium batteries. These automotive large format batteries will go 2500 cycles and still be at 80%. That is 250,000 miles on a 100 mile range pack. Tesla is the only one using laptop batteries. The spec on them is less than 800 cycles. Read the specs on Telsa's batteries. In their sec report Tesla says their batteries may only be at 60% after 7 years or 100k miles. The thing that saves Tesla is their pack is so big. If the Smarte automotive lion pack had a Tesla size pack it would go 625k miles before reaching 80% capacity. I
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Leasing the pack for 80 dollars. If I read the comments below the difference in purchase price is 20k leasing and 25k buying outright. Roughly about 1000 per year to lease. So you will save money if you want to own the car longer than 5 years or you begin saving money after 5 years if you bought it outright. If keeping it for less than 5 years you are better off leasing the batteries.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EVSUPERHERO
        With the battery pack likely to be good for at least 10 years at 12,500 miles a year, judging by the lease guarantee, and a very robust cooling system in place, I'd buy not lease personally.
      The Wasp
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder if you can buy one without a battery. It would be interesting to see if 3rd party battery sellers pop up with alternate battery options for existing cars.
        sandos
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Well, that battery needs to work with the charger and software in the car. Im not saying it impossible to make work or even hard, but its not as simple as connecting a + and a - wire. If thats the case you need to be very worried because it would mean the battery has absolutely no (external) monitoring done.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Its not worth the bother with the battery pack in the Smart, where they seem to have done a bang-up job and built a pack and cooling system likely to last pretty well as long as the car does, at a very reasonable price. The leased version is guaranteed for 10 years for 12,500 miles a year. I worked it out back in June 2012 that the pack cost going on the price in Germany is around $284kwh: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/12/next-gen-electric-smart-ed-goes-on-sale-in-germany-battery-lease/#continued To some scoffing I also said there that the car might lease for around $200pm in the US! So I was a clear dollar too high there! For the retail US price before subsidy I estimated $26,000, so I did not do so well - It is $25,000. ;-)
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Wasp
        Just get a bunch of laptop batteries. Tesla did it, you can, too! Jokes aside, an open standard for car-to-battery interface, with all monitoring, balancing, etc, would be awesome. Not sure how feasible it is - but that's where smaller players, unable to play the game now, could shine.
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