LA Auto Show: Smart Goes Electric and Grows Wings

In the future, your car and your shoes will have wings. Photo Courtesy of Smart

Today at the L.A. Auto Show, Smart had two new cars to show off- their fully electric Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, and their electric Smart ForJeremy concept, which was launched last night at a fabulous party we weren’t invited to. But that’s ok, because these cars are still pretty cool.

The Fiat 500 has become the classic fashionista car overnight, popping up in every parking lot in the garment district here in LA. Their ad campaign for the Abarth proved sex does indeed sell. So what’s the smaller, more efficient, and thoroughly practical  Smart supposed to do to compete? Smart has launched a concept car designed by Jeremy Scott, an American fashion designer known for his outrageous, fun, colorful designs, targeted to appeal to a more fashion-forward, individualist customer than Fiat’s Gucci partnership.

Smart already appeals to anyone who wants to save money, with an average mpg of 38. With their newly launched Smart EV, that jumps to 93 mpg-equivalent average. I spoke with Smart’s General Manager Tracey Matura, Esq. about targeting the elusive Gen Y consumers who aren’t nearly as interested in cars as the older generations.

What about the news that younger customers simply aren’t interested in owning cars?

We’re collaborating with car 2 go, for people who don’t want to make the investment in a car. Many of them rent one through the service and later buy one because they enjoy it so much. We also launched an electric bicycle in Europe and will launch in the US in the 2nd quarter of 2013.

Will Smart work with other designers, like Patricia Field who was at the launch party?

Smart may consider working with other designers in the future, but we focus on representing individuality. The smart driver can get there wearing dress shoes or their Chucks.

…Or something more appropriate, when piloting the Jeremy Scott model. Here’s the basic performance specs on the Smart and Smart Electric Drive.

Notice how the electric drive is more than a second faster to 60 mph…but its top speed is 12 mph less. With an EPA-rated 68 miles, and pricing to start at around $25,000, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive may be the most appealing EV on the market when it hits dealerships next year.

With flamboyant design and a practical and affordable EV in their lineup, Smart is looking to appeal to a broad demographic, from fashionistas to millennials.

Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.