After a couple delays in getting the Smart ED (Electric Drive) into the hands of customers in the United States, the first of the 2 seat, 68 mile cars will be released on Wednesday, May 15th.
The first wave of cars will only be in selected regions, think mostly CARB states; namely CA, CT, ME, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT. A full national roll-out begins on September 1st of this year. It should be noted that Canadian deliveries went off basically as planned, with the first cars being delivered in mid-April.
The Smart Ed comes in two basic trims. The first being the coupe which starts at $25,000, with a Cabrio model for some open-air fun also available from $28,000. There is also a $750 dollar destination charge that also applies to both models.
One of the more intriguing things about the Smart Ed is that it is the electric vehicle in the US to offer three different financing options, including the recently announced battery rental deal.
Here is how the three deals work (as we have learned from the dealership level):
1. You buy the car outright and receive a 4 year/50,000 mile warranty on the vehicle (no option as of yet to extend that)
2. You lease the car. Smart is promoting what seems to now be the “standard EV lease deal” of $199 a month with $2,000 down
3. You purchase or lease the car and then rent the battery
It is the third option is what we are most interested in exploring, especially recognizing that it was this financing option that actually caused the Smart ED’s introduction to be delayed in the US, as lawyers hashed out a way to absolve the dealerships of the liability on the batteries…as is required of them in places like California.
Inside the battery rental offer:
- Purchase and rent the battery: Smart USA values the battery pack inside the car at $5,010, so if you are purchasing the car, the base net is now $19,990. Vehicle owners are then required to pay $80/per month on a 5 year/60 month term. Smart has a renewal program entering month 61 that lets you extend the deal for another 5 years, at the same $80/month rate.
- Lease and rent the battery: similar to the lease deal, except in this case you are looking at $119 lease and a $80 battery rental
It should be noted that under this program, Smart now warranties your battery pack to retain 80% of its charge for the duration of the contract, up to 12,500 miles per year.
I'm curious to know then, if the full car (including the battery) is purchased, does the 4-year/50,000-mile warranty NOT guarantee an 80% charge retention? The plot thickens...