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Electric vehicle provides insights in day-to-day operation - 1 July 2008


Essen/Stuttgart – A smart fortwo electric drive is to go into service with immediate effect as part of the vehicle fleet of energy supplier RWE. Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Vice President of Body and Powertrain Research and Development at Daimler AG, today handed over the first test vehicle in Germany to Dr. Jürgen Großmann, CEO of RWE AG.

In regular daily use the electrically powered smart will provide valuable insights for further developing this drive concept and increasing efficiency. Following last year’s large-scale field test involving 100 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles in the British capital London, this marks the launch of the first test vehicle to go into regular everyday service in Germany.

“I am delighted that Daimler has provided us with this fantastic test vehicle. RWE eco-friendly generated electricity and smart are a perfect match for one another. We will play our part in helping to advance the development of eco-friendly and innovative electric cars. In urban traffic in particular, electric cars offer considerable possibilities in which RWE intends to participate in future – initially in the field of research, but also with a potentially wider scope of applications at a later date,” said RWE Chief Executive Jürgen Großmann.

Daimler delivers smart fortwo electric drive to RWE

At the handover ceremony of the two-door 30 kW/41 hp smart, Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler made reference to the huge development potential offered by electric drive systems: “Emission-free driving using battery-powered vehicles is a part of our drive strategy as important as the fuel cell. In particular, in combination with renewable energies these vehicle concepts represent a decisive step towards sustainable mobility for the future. However, we rely to a considerable extent on the support of the oil industry and energy utilities.”

The smart fortwo electric drive will be in regular daily use at RWE. With its eco-friendly sodium-nickel-chloride battery, the car has a range of around 115 kilometers. This can be recharged to 80 percent of its capacity in 4 hours at any ordinary domestic 230 Volt power point. Maximum capacity is reached after eight hours of charging.

The high-temperature battery is located beneath the floor of the vehicle, and – as Daimler’s own laboratory tests have shown – it can handle at least 1000 charging cycles, equivalent to a calendar lifetime of approximately ten years. It provides power for an electric motor fitted in the car’s rear in place of the conventional 3-cylinder gasoline engine. The motor gives the smart fortwo electric drive a top speed of 112 km/h. And with NEDC running costs at around 0.02 euros per kilometer, the car has the potential to compete with diesel engines.