Third-gen Smart Fortwo Electric available in early 2012; will price drop from $44,387?

Smart ED – Click above for high-res image gallery

The second-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (ED) is a limited-edition test program model (250 units available in the U.S.) that Daimler will use to gauge consumer interest in battery-powered vehicles. Leasing the electrified Fortwo is costly, with payments ringing in at $599 a month for 48 months, plus $2,500 due at signing. Technically, the 2011 Smart ED is offered under the lease-only plan detailed above, but the automaker has listed its MSRP at $44,387.

Truth be told, we're not shocked by the Smart ED's lofty sticker price, nor are we put off by its astronomical lease rate. You see, this Fortwo ED is a limited run model and not a production electric vehicle.

But come January of 2012, the third-generation Fortwo electric, a production model, should hit the streets. By then, we'd hope that the automaker adjusts its pricing structure and offers the pint-sized electric at a more reasonable rate and, according to a report on Kicking Tires, a price drop seems to be part of Smart's plans:
There are no sales projections for the next-generation model, but [spokesman Rick] Bourgoise expects sales in larger volumes, with a lower retail price as Daimler owner of Smart realizes greater economies of scale.
Lessees of the second-gen Fortwo ED will be eligible to upgrade to Smart's electrified third-gen Fortwo when it hits the market and, unlike the automaker's current battery-powered hatch, the upcoming model will be offered for both lease and purchase.

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Photos copyright ©2010 Sebastian Blanco / AOL

[Source: Kicking Tires]

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