As of now, 2011 is looking like the year of the electric car. The usual models have been grabbing the headlines -- the Toyota Prius EV, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, BMW Mini E and the Ford Focus electric. But now, Daimler has jumped into the niche market with its Smart Fortwo electric.
Available Thursday, the Smart Fortwo can be only be leased for $599 a month with $2,500 down payment. The contract is for four years or 40,000 miles. Buyers who lease this year's Smart Fortwo EV will be eligible to upgrade to the third-generation model when it goes on sale in 2012.
The soft-top convertible model is also available for $649 a month. There also will be an option to buy in 2012. Officially, the Smart Fortwo EV has an MSRP of $44,837 for sales in 2012.
The Smart Fortwo has an estimated range of 63 miles in combined city and highway driving, according to the EPA. With a 220-volt plug, it can be fully charged in less than eight hours. The car can reach a maximum speed of 62.5 mph.
In comparison, the Volt and Leaf are faster, operate longer distances, charge faster, and function like normal size cars.
Only 250 models will be available to U.S. markets. The Smart dealer in Roslyn does not have the Smart EV available to customers. Long Islander's will have to trek to the Smart Center on West 41st Street in Manhattan to test drive the vehicle and negotiate a lease.