Battery and Fossil Fuel Cars Built on Same Hambach Line
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit is claiming the first series production of an electric vehicle in Europe as the battery version of the two-seat Smart Fortwo car is manufactured at Hambach, France. Both electric and combustion-engine cars are built on the same line at the $260 million facility, dubbed “Smartville.”
“More than 1,000 emission-free smarts have already left the plant,” Smart chief Annette Winkler said in a release. “The production is now being continuously ramped up to meet the high customer demand worldwide.”
“The Smart Hambach plant has the ideal prerequisites for perfectly integrated production of models with electric drive and combustion engines,” said plant manager Joachim Betker. “The smart vehicle concept was designed for different drive types right from the start,” he said. “This is why the whole site was planned to allow configurations such as an electric drive to be additionally realized with relatively low expenditure.”
The Battery May Be Rented
The battery Smart has a 55-kilowatt (74 horsepower) electric motor powered by a 17.6- kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery affording a single-fill city range of 145 kilometers, or about 90 miles. Key suppliers for the made-in-Hambach EVs are joint ventures between Daimler and the German companies Bosch (EM-Motive) and Evonik (Deutsche Accumotive).
Customers can buy the basic model of the car for approximately $31,000 – or they can buy it for $24,600, and rent the lithium ion battery for $85 per month.
The first of the battery cars have been delivered to customers in Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal, the manufacturer says. “All further markets – more than 30 in total – will follow successively.”
Well Over a Million Smart Cars
The Smart plant at Hambach, in Alsace, a mere kilometer from the German border, was inaugurated in 1997. The Smart Fortwo has been built there since 1998. In 2011 more than 103,000 vehicles rolled off the production line, Daimler says. Some 1,475 employees work at the site, around 750 in the plant itself and a further 725 at seven system based in the area.
The one millionth Smart Fortwo was built in September 2008, coinciding with the tenth birthday of the brand. To date more than 1.4 million vehicles have left the facility.
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Source: Daimler Mercedes-Benz Smart