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Let's keep calm here. Most smart 453 EV's brought to the U.S. will be leased to folks who drive to work within the 58 mile range. There are some folks out there who drive 10 miles to work, 10 miles home. 15 one way, 15 return. 6 one way, 6 back. 20 one way, 20 back.

The current lease is only $139 per month, with a relatively low down payment. Roughly $150 with tax, per month. Some cities that's a monthly bus pass.

It's still a usable vehicle. It does alienate the longer distance commuters though. MB has future EV's planned with significantly longer range.

The car is much nicer than the prior 451, and in some cases is tighter and more solid in its feel and handling ability than longer range EV's from competitors.

The smart 453 EV is designed for city dwellers who plan to use their other car for long distance trips. Judging the vehicle on its own merit --- it's a totally awesome car. The steering and handling feel is substantially improved over smart 451's, the power steering is assisted aggressively at a standstill so one-handed u-turns are easy unlike the 451's. The car still has the absolute tightest turning circle on the market too, so city dwellers navigating tight street traffic will enjoy this car immensely in my opinion.
The problem targeting city dwellers is that most of them do not have a means of charging an EV. My son is looking to move out on his own and is interested in an EV as a replacement vehicle, but in our area of the nation, he can't find any apartment under $2k a month (that's for a one bedroom) that has a garage with a level 2 charger, much less even a guarantee of a regular 120 volt outlet nearby. For any place with only outdoor parking, charging is just simply not possible or extremely inconvenient. This is a problem facing any city dweller contemplating an EV. So then, you're looking to target those who live a bit further out. Which means even if work is within the range of the car, there's no ability to make any kind of substantial side trip. And that's the reality. High housing prices have forced many workers far away. In our department of 13 IT staff, seven have a commute of more than 30 miles one way. And we're not a relatively large metro area.

And if you only have a five mile commute, and the cost savings is 30 cents a mile over an ICE car that they already have, that's a savings of $3 a day, $60 a month. An EV only pays off if you are driving it some significant distance, but then you can't comfortably do that if the range is that small.
 

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Well, there are still folks out there with a garage and a 110V or 240V outlet.
If these folks don't already have an EV, then the 2017 ED is competing against all of the 451 EDs that have come off lease and are available for $5-6k. Those 451 EDs may not feel as solid but they should have equivalent or greater range, at one-third the cost and without seemingly any worry about BAP whether or not it should still be covered by BAP. It is tough to come to market with a newer model that doesn't do something significantly better than the previous model, because then the previous model becomes the primary competitor, and it's hard to attract new buyers.
 

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Like many of you here this morning waiting for the "Launch", the EPA report took my breath away. The new c453 model electric with 3 more cells than the w451, certainly looked like it would be an improvement over the prior models 68 mile range. When I read 58 miles I thought this must be a mistake, Daimler Smart, would not release their new best car ever to the USA and Canada with a 58 mile range. Those poor Canadians get cold weather that can cut the EPA range in half !


Here is the Official Report, sadly 58 was not a typo error,,Heart Broken for ALL of us, including our committed dealers!! https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=39192
 

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For those who need to drive 100 miles a day, or those without a second car, or those without access to an electrical outlet, the ED is not your car. I respect that and acknowledge that most folks in the US have those issues. However, millions do not share any of those problems. I commute 6 miles, my wife 3 miles, my kids drive 4 miles to school. Many of my neighbors have short commutes as well. I'd venture to say that millions of high school students across the coutnry do not have long commutes, prefer a less expensive car and find the small two seat ED to be fun. Millions of housewives have short drives to taxi kids or get groceries or go to a hairdresser. Yes, the ED is not for everyone, but it is not trying to be. It is not going head to head with Leaf or Tesla. It is carving out a niche, which is growing in market size and SMART has done OK with sales in the US and worldwide. Dozens of car companies similarly carve out small niches and succeed. Will the ED succeed? No way in rural Kansas or Nome, but there are many other places where such a car is desirable. Too early to say whether the brand will fold. SMART has clearly laid down a million dollar bet that it won't, and they have researched the market far more than any of us.
 

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Hurricanes, where I live, practically all high school students drive hand-me-down vehicles. Only in the richest of neighborhoods would a high school student get a new car, so in this case these vast majority of high school students may be given a 451 ED to tool around in. That is, if you could convince the typical, appearance-and-image-aware high school student to drive a 451.

And the reduction of the number of Smart centers means many of these people, except for those that live in the larger metro areas where the centers remain, will be so out of range that required warranty maintenance or any warranty repairs will be a chore. And these metro areas are the typical ones where housing prices have risen, forcing more and more people to live further and further away. The Smart demographic may not share the same economic wealth as a Tesla owner so they may not have the choice to live where it might be convenient to access what is likely a Mercedes dealer that will be situated in an area suited for their demographic.

The big thing is still going to be that 58 miles on the Monroney.


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Hurricanes, where I live, practically all high school students drive hand-me-down vehicles. Only in the richest of neighborhoods would a high school student get a new car, so in this case these vast majority of high school students may be given a 451 ED to tool around in. That is, if you could convince the typical, appearance-and-image-aware high school student to drive a 451.

And the reduction of the number of Smart centers means many of these people, except for those that live in the larger metro areas where the centers remain, will be so out of range that required warranty maintenance or any warranty repairs will be a chore. And these metro areas are the typical ones where housing prices have risen, forcing more and more people to live further and further away. The Smart demographic may not share the same economic wealth as a Tesla owner so they may not have the choice to live where it might be convenient to access what is likely a Mercedes dealer that will be situated in an area suited for their demographic.

The big thing is still going to be that 58 miles on the Monroney.


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All you say is true, but still misses the point that SMART is not aiming to be a major car seller; it is not aiming to be a group think kind of car. This is not only true for the ED but was also true for the ICE SMART; it also was not designed to compete with Toyota or Nissan, etc. Indeed, SMART would lose much of its appeal if everyone drove one around; the fact that they are different and unique is part of the reason to own one.

My wife and kids turned up their nose at the ED when I first brought it home. Wife was worried about safety despite all the evidence I could show. Kids were worried about being bullied at school. Now I can't get them out of it.

SMART has made a very conscious effort to target this low range, less expensive market. Had they put in four seats, it would have been more expensive and larger. Had they increased range, it would have been more expensive and larger. They would be competing head to head with Leaf and Tesla and they would lose.
 

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You could get more range from a classic VW Bug EV conversion
Irrelevant. SMART has clearly made a marketing decision to aim for the less expensive, two seat, lower range, small car market. Would they have more appeal if they made a bigger four seat long range car? I would probably say yes. But that is not their target market. I owned a Lotus Esprit; hell of a car. Could Lotus have sold more by going cheaper, less power, more seats, etc.? I would probably say yes. But that was not their target market and they made money. I own a Polaris Slingshot now. Could they have sold more by adding an automatic, four seats, four wheels, etc.? I would probably say yes. But that is not their target market and they are selling as fast as they make them. There are dozens of small market cars making a good profit by carving out a niche. SMART is similarly not aiming for the high range, four seat, bigger car market. Even the ICE SMART was not designed for folks who like big engines, four seats, etc., etc. SMART has identified a market and they are making a million dollar play for it. Not a lot of good competition for that market. Will they succeed? Still to early to tell.
 

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Remember that SMART is not building the ED just for the US market. Small limited range, less expensive electric cars are more popular in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. That is clearly their target; they will throw some at the US market to see if they can carve out a niche, but if not they will continue to mint money in these other markets. They are throwing millions into their gambit, so they have reason to suspect an electric microcar can succeed despite the failure of others. Will they succeed here? To early to tell.
 

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After taking this vehicle out for a 58 mile drive, starting with 80% on the battery, and ending with 10% on the battery, in 95 to 102 degree weather with the a/c on the entire time, on the freeway, mix of 65 mph and some stop and go, not even using it in ECO mode for 30 of those miles, I'll conclude that the 58 mile EPA rating is clearly conservative. I'll leave it at that.
 

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[The ED] is not going head to head with Leaf or Tesla. It is carving out a niche, which is growing in market size and SMART has done OK with sales in the US and worldwide. Dozens of car companies similarly carve out small niches and succeed.


With all due respect, your premise is faulty. The ED is not carving out a niche. The minor fervor of smart "early adopters" in North America quickly ran its course. Even a complete fortwo model redesign that targeted US market preferences couldn't stimulate interest of any magnitude. So, this year smartUSA killed off its best-selling ICE variant, forcing many, if not most, smart Centers out of business. Now it has introduced an ED that accelerates slower and has worse EPA range numbers than its predecessor, not to mention its very accomplished value-driven and vastly more practical EV competitors. The 451 ED's "micro-micro-niche" (ahem) had been artificially propped up by Car2Go sales, which is unlikely to be a factor going forward.

Since smart sales have grossly dwindled *despite* massive efforts to address product acceptability, and since the best-selling variant (ICE) was axed, and since the 453 ED is no more noteworthy than the 451 ED in an ever-increasing EV competitive marketplace, how is smartUSA going to be carving out this niche that you foresee?? The smart ED is simply not relevant in numbers that can profitably and single-handedly sustain the brand in North America. This isn't rocket science.
 

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With all due respect, your premise is faulty. The ED is not carving out a niche. The minor fervor of smart "early adopters" in North America quickly ran its course. Even a complete fortwo model redesign that targeted US market preferences couldn't stimulate interest of any magnitude. So, this year smartUSA killed off its best-selling ICE variant, forcing many, if not most, smart Centers out of business. Now it has introduced an ED that accelerates slower and has worse EPA range numbers than its predecessor, not to mention its very accomplished value-driven and vastly more practical EV competitors. The 451 ED's "micro-micro-niche" (ahem) had been artificially propped up by Car2Go sales, which is unlikely to be a factor going forward.

Since smart sales have grossly dwindled *despite* massive efforts to address product acceptability, and since the best-selling variant (ICE) was axed, and since the 453 ED is no more noteworthy than the 451 ED in an ever-increasing EV competitive marketplace, how is smartUSA going to be carving out this niche that you foresee?? The smart ED is simply not relevant in numbers that can profitably and single-handedly sustain the brand in North America. This isn't rocket science.
As my son and I both have degrees in rocket science, I would agree with you. This strikes me more as a marketing ploy. In this thread, folks have argued SMART needs more range, or more acceleration, or more seating, etc. I am merely arguing that SMART is not trying to compete with the big boys. They have their target audience in mind. As you point out, they will lose to the competition going head to head, so instead they are going for a different target audience.

Volvo is the more striking example of this. They are a major car company that makes all manor of vehicles, but now they are shifting towards a smaller market.
 

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As my son and I both have degrees in rocket science, I would agree with you. This strikes me more as a marketing ploy. In this thread, folks have argued SMART needs more range, or more acceleration, or more seating, etc. I am merely arguing that SMART is not trying to compete with the big boys. They have their target audience in mind. As you point out, they will lose to the competition going head to head, so instead they are going for a different target audience.

Volvo is the more striking example of this. They are a major car company that makes all manor of vehicles, but now they are shifting towards a smaller market.
They are already going for a different target audience with the size and shape of the vehicle. But the landscape in which they are competing has changed. Even if a buyer were wanting a car with a form factor like the Smart, they don't live in isolation and will see that other electric cars offer more range and more power. It's not a 68 mile 451 ED against a 73 mile Leaf any more, it's now a 58 mile 453 ED against a 107 mile Leaf. It's a 58 mile 453 ED against a 238 mile Chevy Bolt.

The disappearance of Smart centers doesn't help. In all of Washington state, there is **one** Smart dealer. How many people wouldn't even be able to get their 453 ED home without charging it on the road? Who would buy a 453 ED in those circumstances?

Maybe Europe is their target market and the US is an afterthought. If so, it seems better to just abandon the market altogether than to put out something so obviously uncompetitive.
 
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