New tactics in production efficiency aren’t just cutting emissions; they’re cutting costs. Mercedes-owned Smart is currently ramping up production of its Smart ForTwo Electric Drive EV, and the company has given the press a sneak peek at one of Europe’s greenest factories, affectionately-dubbed “Smartville.”
It is so easy to get caught up in numbers relating to fuel efficiency and emissions output that we often forget how energy-intensive it is shaping raw materials into the complicated cars we drive today. Smart’s factory in Hambach, France has been streamlined for efficiency, with many parts suppliers located right next door to reduce transport costs and emissions.
Painting is kept to a minimum thanks to the Smart ForTwo’s design, which utilizes pre-colored plastic on many parts. Much of the waste water is treated and recycled on-site, reducing the dependence on local infrastructure and water sources. The woods of Smartville are even covered in fast-growing, naturally-insulating trees; now that’s a smart design.
It takes around 3.5 hours to build a single car, and Smart is hoping to build a lot of them…especially the Electric Drive EV model. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive will be built on the same production line as regular smart cars. With Smart aiming to sell the cheapest EV in America, they are ramping up production of all their products.
It’s a cool look at the behind-the-scenes efficiencies that automakers the world over are undertaking. But will Smart’s green factory be able to keep up with the demand they’re expecting?