If you’ve ordered an electric Smart-car and don’t live in Germany, chances are you’re going to get it a little later than expected. But Daimler apparently isn’t worried about the delay if it means they’ll retain the high quality they’ve already promised.
The problems are part of the supply chain – specifically the batteries. The parts for the batteries and the battery cells are made by several different companies (mainly Daimler subsidiaries), and one of them is citing trouble with its supplier.
Li-Tec, a subsidiary of the energy company group of Evonik and Daimler, can’t ship the battery cells because, it says, one of its suppliers isn’t delivering the parts it needs to produce them. Having been on both sides of the retail counter, sometimes a supplier issue is actually a supplier issue (they can’t make them fast enough, their supplier is out, they’ve sold your parts to somebody else) and sometimes they’ve screwed something up and are desperately trying to salvage the situation.
Regardless of which is behind Li-Tec’s delay, Daimler insists that the company finish the cells in order to keep the quality high, and that there is no problem with the batteries themselves (would that announcement fuel rumors of battery issues or quell them?). The finished batteries will eventually be produced by Accumotive, another Evonik/Daimler subsidiary.
The German market, which Daimler regards as its most important if the electric Smart is going to succeed, will get its cars on time in June 2012; Daimler has specifically denied rumors that delivery would be pushed back from June until September. Production in Hambach, France is also reported to be totally on schedule.
As we’ve noted before, the Smart can be ordered right now, it has an alleged range of 87 miles, and an alleged top speed of 75mph.