Thursday, 17 September 2015

EV versions of smart set for late 2016

Electric versions of the new smart fortwo and forfour will go on sale in late 2016.

The latest versions of the city cars have been on the market for nearly a year. They and the Renault Twingo were the first vehicles built on a common platform between Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Customer reaction on all three models has been highly positive, according to the partners. And so the next stage of development will be EV versions of the smart fortwo and forfour which will go on sale late next year.

Both vehicles will be fitted with an electric motor produced by Renault’s Cléon plant in France, the same unit as that used in the Renault ZOE. The battery of the new smart electric drive will be produced by Daimler AG’s subsidiary, Deutsche ACCUmotive, in Kamenz, Germany.

When the tri-partite Daimler-Renault-Nissan Alliance partnership was launched in April 2010, the scope of the original collaboration was limited to three projects, primarily in Europe. Since then, the combined portfolio shared between the partners has more than quadrupled to 13 projects in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Major programmes of 2015 include start of work on the $1 billion Aguascalientes plant in Mexico, which will produce next-generation premium compact vehicles for Infiniti from 2017, and Mercedes-Benz starting in 2018. Nissan and Daimler will co-develop the vehicles.

The plant is expected to produce more than 230,000 cars a year by 2020. They will also be produced at other Daimler and Nissan plants in Europe and China. The joint assembly plant is located next to the Nissan plant in Aguascalientes.

Earlier this year, Daimler and Nissan announced development of the first Mercedes-Benz entry into the pickup segment. The new pickup will share some of its architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300, but will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Latin America.

The vehicle will have all of Mercedes Benz’ distinctive characteristics and features. The truck will be built by Nissan in the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, along with the Nissan NP300 and a Renault 1-ton truck, for Latin America. The three trucks will also be built at the Nissan Barcelona plant in Spain. Production of the Mercedes-Benz truck at both plants will start before the end of the decade.

Finally, the Infiniti Q30 premium active compact will share components of Daimler’s compact-car architecture but was engineered and designed by Infiniti from scratch to meet the specific needs of its customers.

The car made its public debut at the Frankfurt show. Production will begin at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK later this year.

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