NEW YORK -- Smart USA will lease 250 electric ForTwo microcars starting this fall and plans to begin volume sales of the vehicle in 2012.
The cars will be leased for $599 a month to companies and individuals in eight U.S. markets where Smart wants a foothold for its electric fleet. Those markets are Los Angeles; Detroit; Indianapolis; Orlando; Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; and the I-95 corridor from Washington to Boston, including New York City.
Only about 50 of the 250 cars will be leased to individuals. The majority will go to corporations, says Derek Kaufman, vice president of Smart USA.
The electric Smart has a range of 82 miles on a full charge. It takes about eight hours with a 220-volt outlet to charge the battery fully.
The car is powered by a lithium ion battery produced by electric-car maker Tesla. The battery is below the rear cargo area so it doesn't take up any of the Smart's already minuscule trunk room. Smart's parent company, Daimler AG, owns 5 percent of Tesla.
The ForTwo electric car scheduled to arrive in 2012 will be powered by a new lithium ion battery developed by Deutsche Accumotive GmbH, a joint venture between Daimler and Evonik Industries. It will also have an upgraded interior.
Smart USA President Jill Lajdziak would not say how many electric cars Smart expects to sell in the United States starting in 2012.