Smart is set to receive updates for model year 2013, with the electric ForTwo receiving the most significant changes. The electric Smart, however, will be delayed due to a problem with the new battery.
According to a report from Automotive News, the electric ForTwo will now launch in September 2012, instead of the summer. The delay is due to an issue discovered during battery production, although -- unsurprisingly -- no particular detail is given. Although Tesla was once linked to the Smart EV program, Daimler is now sourcing battery packs from Deutsche Accumotive -- a joint venture with Evonic -- and procuring cells from Li-Tec.
A Daimler spokesperson tells AN the delay isn't tied to technical or quality defects, but mentions the automaker "doesn't want to lower [its] sights in safeguarding quality."
Smart is updating its lineup for model year 2013, but it seems the Electric model receives the most substantial overhaul. The electric motor will be upgraded from a 30kW unit to one that produces 55kW. The new lithium-ion battery is rated at 17.6 kWh, versus 16.5 kWh in the current second-gen car. The improvements will bump range from 60 to 87 miles. Charging will take eight hours on a standard home outlet, while a quick charger cuts that time to just an hour.
In America, there are just over 200 current-gen electric Smarts roaming the streets, but all are presently leased to customers. Daimler hopes to make the third-gen electric Smart available for both lease and purchase once it arrives in showrooms during the second half of 2012.
Source: Automotive News