The last time we talked to SmartUSA president David Schembri, the topic was all about the fortwo in the U.S., both electric drive and standard. During the hectic press preview days at this year's Detroit Auto Show, we found a few minutes to speak once again with Schembri, this time focusing on the big announcement that the smart ed will be coming to the U.S. in a little over a year.
Schembri said that SmartUSA will begin limited production in selected markets in the second half of 2010 and series production in 2012. The company does not have any target numbers to talk about yet, he said, adding that introducing this vehicle is meant more to introduce electric cars to Americans and to help get the infrastructure needed for widespread EVs put into place than to sell millions of units.
Schembri said that SmartUSA is not hearing detailed results of the smart ed testing that's currently taking place in Europe, but that what little he's heard has all been positive. He did correct something that we were told earlier, and that no formal testing will be done in the U.S. with the electric smart. Instead, everything will be gotten ready in Europe and just promoted and sold here.
One thing that Schembri revealed to us is that SmartUSA is working on a project to, on the first anniversary of each customer's smart fortwo purchase, be planting a tree in their name as part of a reforestation effort with American Forests. Details, like exactly which forest will be chosen, are still up in the air, but we should hear soon.
Listen to our talk (12 min., 16 MB):