[social_buttons] Daimler-Mercedes-Benz-Smart electric cars will begin a new round of testing of the electric Smart ForTwo using batteries from its new investment partner Tesla.
In 2007, Daimler began a 4 year trial to get 40,000 miles-worth of real world experience to determine the technology’s long-term sustainability.
But that was before Daimler decided to source its batteries from Tesla, and more recently Daimler and Tesla have formed a closer partnership as Daimler took a 10% equity stake in Tesla.
“What we’re hoping to learn is … what we need to do to make the car as friendly and adaptable as possible to people’s lifestyle.”
Dermot Kelly, managing director of Mercedes-Benz wants to know how people use electric cars:
“What we want is a diverse group who are commuting to work every day, who have the ability to charge their cars at home. The power supply companies will be supplying smart metering to work out when people would charge their cars up and when they would use them”
The new electric vehicle tests are part of the $400 million that the UK government is investing in electric car development and widespread tests so drivers can get familiar with electric cars. Some people tend to think that they just can’t live with a 100 mile range before recharging. The UK government hopes that in practice, they will find that 95% of their journeys are under 25 miles (as statistics show). The mayor of London plans an infrastructure of 25,000 public charging stations to help.
Daimler hopes to have its latest electric ForTwo model on general sale in the UK by 2012, with the help of the Government’s $8,333 subsidy for electric vehicles starting in 2011. Smart ForTwo’s will cost about $1.66 per recharge. In Daimler’s new trials, Smarts will lease for under $333 a month, much better than the first iteration’s $633.
But Daimler is testing more than how well Brits handle lower-cost EV leases, though. They are testing range increases with new batteries, and also doing some software tweaks. As Daimler spokesman Kelly says:
“We’re not treating customers as Guinea pigs: we’re giving the customers the latest technology – the battery is a Tesla one – we are now a shareholder of that company.”
Image from Smart USA