Meet the new boss, way different than the old boss. Or, at least, a heck of a lot cheaper. To anyone looking at their monthly cell phone bill, $60 a month may not seem like a lot on its own, but when you're talking about the price drop for the 2013 Smart ForTwo ED monthly lease, it's roughly a 30-percent discount.

As with any amazing price, though, the new $139-a-month offer – down from $199 – has some asterisk-y qualifications. For starters, the the 36-month lease requires $1,999 down but at least it offers a surprising 15,000 miles a year. Second, the Fortwo ED is only available in eight states, the "CARB states" where Smart has dealerships. That means California, Oregon, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. Vermont and Maine also fall into the CARB category, but there are no Smart dealers there.

Third, and most important, the lease includes Smart's new "battery assurance plus" (BAP) battery lease program. This is the first time a major automaker has offered a battery lease program in the US, but Smart (and Nissan, and others) offer it in Europe. BAP provides free annual battery maintenance and guarantees that if the energy capacity drops below 80 percent, Smart will replace the pack. BAP is transferable and functions no matter what the mileage is on the car.

Smart USA is offering dealers $2,000 in "marketing assistance" that they will "probably" pass along to the customer.

BAP is an $80-a-month option if you buy the car, but it is is rolled into the $139 lease price, meaning that somehow Daimler is calculating that the rest of the lease costs you just $59 a month. Mark Webster, general manager of Smart USA, said at an event in Ann Arbor yesterday that the low price is possible because, "We are passing the [$7,500] federal tax credit along as a very attractive lease." Smart made the price changes August 1 but didn't put out an official announcement about it because there was no change to the Fortwo's MSRP (which remains $25,000). Instead, Smart USA is offering its dealers $2,000 in "marketing assistance" to lower the cost, and Webster said they will "probably pass it along to the customer." We're skeptical.

Fortwo ED buyers can also get the 10-year battery assurance plus program (it's actually a battery rental option). In fact, Webster said that Smart USA "does not recommend" buying the battery outright. He said if you do, you are putting yourself at risk and that's why, from both a resale and customer satisfaction standpoint, "we want to rent you the battery," he said. Of course, if you sign up for BAP, then you need to pay $80 a month for a decade. Or, to add it all up, $9,600.

To make up for that additional burden, Smart USA is also offering incentives to Smart ED purchasers who opt for the battery lease (we know, we got confused learning all these details, too). Specifically, on top of any potential federal or state tax deals, Smart will give buyers $5,010 off the price of your new electric smart. Throw in the aforementioned $2,000 dealer incentive (if you can get it) and the $7,500 federal tax credit and you might be able to buy a new Smart ED for an eye-popping $10,490. Plus the $80-a-month battery rental fee, of course. Webster said that, so far, sales and leases each make up roughly half of the Smart EDs the company has sold in the US (with almost of all of them choosing to lease the battery). New sales tactics are needed. Last month, that number was 58 and Webster told AutoblogGreen "we have plenty" of vehicles ready to find a home.


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  • 37 Comments
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have a theory of what is happening here. It's not like the super douche Goebbels suits at Daimler suddenly got religion and do all they can to make EVs affordable. No no. What I think happened here is that ze german douches realized (very late) that their nitwit obtuseness is actually subsidizing Tesla Motors. That without the ZEV credit sales Tesla Motors would never have managed the illusion of profitability in Q1 and Q2 would have been an 82 million dollar loss and they would never have exploded in the short squeeze that followed nor been able to raise the billion dollars that washed away all their bad business. Tesla motors would have been at death's door if not for the ZEV credits that the other idiot car makers paid them :) 68m in Q1, 51m in Q2. Mercedes is realizing that their evil is creating the monster that will kill them : ) Mercedes is realizing that the 25k$ ZEV credit you get for each car and the secondary effects are more than enough to make it profitable to give away electric cars in CARB states for free.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Cut the crap about 'ze Germans' you racialist loser.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Well one problem with your theory is that Mercedes actually owns a lot of Tesla so they benefit by Tesla's stock appreciation. However, they may be a bit bitter though since they sold off 40% of their stake last year. LOL!
        Giza Plateau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Curious that this comment is being downvoted that much as it's rather brilliant. But I guess the part about Tesla Motors upsets the fanboys
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          I pointed out how silly your theory is. You are alleging that they are supporting "the monster that will kill them" but the OWN a big piece of that monster so they benefit from Tesla's stock appreciation. They also have licensed a Tesla drivetrain for one of their cars.
      neonspinnazz30
      • 1 Year Ago
      The smart ED is initially rolling out in only eight states. A few months later it'll actually be released nationwide.
      Rick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow! That car will cost me only $139/month! Plus my life, if I get hit by anything larger than a golf cart.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rick
        Yes, that is definitely a concern for those prone to accidents. On the other hand there are those of us who don't share that concern because we pay attention to what we are doing when we drive, and don't expect the world to watch out for us.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          The greatest driving skills in the world are not going to save you from the drunk driver that plows into you while you are waiting at a stoplight.
          hodad66
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          yep, from my MG Midget, AH Sprite, VW Karmann, Fiat 124, Mazda Miata.... boy I sure would be scared in this totally safety engineered ED..... NOT! Some people fear, others live......
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rick
        Design is far more important than size and weight. NHTSA data shows that SUVs and pickups, despite being larger and heavier than cars, generally have a higher fatality rate than cars of the same manufacturer. The Smart car in particular has received the very highest scores in crash tests, thus beating many conventional cars.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Indeed. Look at F1 race cars . . . their driver areas are tiny. But good design allows F1 drivers to survive accidents that happen at very high speeds. That said, poorly design small cars can have difficulty doing well at the tests.
          Ryan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Do they have a crash test video of a big truck and a small car?
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      The EV price war rages on! This is basically Benz buying ZEV credits with subsidized Smart EVs so they don't have to pay a penalty or buy ZEV credits from others.
        Giza Plateau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        I think that's quite close to the truth :)
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        And... in the mean time, producing and selling EVs... which is what we wanted with those credits anyway. There really isn't good reason to think of compliance as a negative. The whole point is to get compliance from automakers who would not have changed their lineup otherwise.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Well consider this . . . the ZEV states will inhibit sales in non-ZEV states. GM needs to get its ZEV credits so it offers the Spark EV at a slightly subsidized price. But now it can't really offer the car in other states because there is no benefit to selling them in those other states and if they try to sell them for a higher price in the non ZEV states there will be a public relations nightmare as they have to explain why it costs $30K in Iowa and only $27K in California.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          It is a huge benefit to California EV consumers. But there is a negative to it. With the compliance cars that that are made in small volume and sold at a low price for loss, that makes it really hard for the companies like Nissan that are actually trying to run a profitable EV business since they have to compete with loss-leader EVs. If there is no profit in EVs, the biz is going flounder.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I don't buy that excuse. If those loss-leader comp cars are sold in such low volume... then Nissan doesn't need to compete. They simply out produce them (which Nissan does). And customers will have to buy what is available, at Nissan. And when the comp automaker realizes they could profit, if only they get their costs down and volume up... those comp cars won't be a loss-leader at all.
      Koenigsegg
      • 1 Year Ago
      how can anyone hate on the new smart its the coolest little car in the world you cant tell me that it doesnt look cool smh the new front end is awesome along with daytime running lights and you'll have the coolest car on the road, the fact that the people that dont own smarts or ever driven/drive them and talk bad about them is hilarious, you really think your opinion is valid?
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      hehe, so me pointing out the evil of german automakers is the same as nazi germany invading poland?? how is it your logic can fail so greatly? Spec, that's not a problem with my theory.
      mr jeep
      • 1 Year Ago
      This lease is a POS for a POS car, please let me explain...the lease looks like a 30,000 mile cap on the 3 years with a max of 15,000 in any one year...then the penalties start...please read the fine print 3 times and you may get it on the 4th try!....oh by the way it is a true 2 seater...so the passenger miles/gallon is low compared to any gas powered 4 seater such as a Mazda 2/3, VW Jetta diesel, Chevy Cruze Diesel, Dodge Dart, etc., etc.,...and by the way the car makes for a beautiful coffin post-crash at no extra charge to you!
        mustang_sallad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mr jeep
        yes, because we've all proven ourselves to be so good at keeping an average of at least 3 people in the car. The whole point of the Smart (electric or not) is that it acknowledges that most of our driving is to and from work with one person in the car.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mr jeep
        The Smart is actually safer than your Jeep. Look up the crash test ratings.
          mr jeep
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Yes, but physics tells you that these vehicles are crashed into barriers that push back at the same force that they impose based on their weight and speed...that means the Smart car is safe as long as you crash into another similar weight vehicle...since this is the smallest in weight and numbers on the road that will almost never happen and you will in all probability meet up with a larger vehicle and get crushed!
        itsme38269
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mr jeep
        Miles/gallon? It's 0 miles per gallon. It's electric. You can put as many gallons in it as you like, it's only going to go 0 miles. It's like you copied and pasted this comment from somewhere else or something, because you're clearly not talking about the car in question.
          mr jeep
          • 1 Year Ago
          @itsme38269
          There is still something called MPGe that is measured based on the cost of electricity.....I agree it is probably lower than gasoline but certainly NOT $0.00
      Jesse Gurr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Last I checked 30,000 miles for 3 years is not 15,000/year.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wasn't Poland "Just a neighbor" too?
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      'For starters, the the 36-month lease requires $1,999 down but at least it offers a surprising 15,000 miles a year.' Uh? 'electric drive coupe with Battery Assurance Plus Available only to qualified customers through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services at participating dealers through September 3, 2013. Not everyone will qualify. Advertised 36 months lease payment based on MSRP of $20,740 less the suggested dealer contribution resulting in a total gross capitalized cost of $20,740. Dealer contribution may vary and could affect your actual lease payment. Includes Destination Charge. Excludes title, taxes, registration, license fees, insurance, dealer prep and additional options. Total monthly payments equal $5,004. Cash due at signing includes $1,999 capitalized cost reduction, $295 acquisition fee and first month's lease payment of $59, and the one-month battery assurance plus vehicle lease payment of $80 plus tax. No security deposit required. Total payments equal $7,298. At lease end, lessee pays for any amounts due under the lease, any official fees and taxes related to the scheduled termination, excess wear and use plus $0.25/mile over 30,000 miles, and $395 vehicle turn-in fee. Purchase option at lease end for $12,892 plus taxes (and any other fees and charges due under the applicable lease agreement) in example shown. Battery Assurance Plus, the smart electric drive battery is rented separately on a month-to-month basis for $80 plus tax per month. Initial battery lease term is one month. The maximum number of month-to-month renewal months is 119. Subject to credit approval. Specific vehicles are subject to availability and may have to be ordered. See participating dealer for details. Please always wear your seat belt, drive safely and obey speed limits.' http://www.smartusa.com/models/electric-drive/overview.aspx That looks like 10,000 a year, not 15,000 to me. The site is confusing though.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow! Super affordable electric city car! Given the car's small size and speedy 0-40mph acceleration this vehicle is likely in the same boat as the Chevy Spark EV: The electric version is a much better car.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        There is a funny video of someone that did a home conversion of a gas Smart Car to an EV and their custom Smart EV can do wheelies.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Here is the video. The front wheel just gets an inch off the ground but it is a wheelie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSOCvnaIFKE
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      How is that racist? I'm the same race. It's my neighbor country.
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