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Who am I? I revealed myself to the public for the first time in 1997 at the International Motor Show. I was very curious to see what the numerous visitors would think. After all, the world had never seen anything like me: a vehicle with sustainability in its genes.
My inventor dreamed of me as a smart, reasonably-priced and environmentally friendly city run-about. I was supposed to be able to transport two people and at least one crate of sparkling water – and indeed several crates fit in my boot. My name is a combination of Swatch (Swiss watch brand), Mercedes and “art”: smart.
Positive CO2 balance in the production
It has now been more than 20 years since I first rolled off the assembly line in Hambach in France with possibly record-breaking dimensions. With highly efficient procedures and suppliers based directly on-site at the plant as system partners, my production location the Hambach plant also set new standards. This still applies today: since the beginning of 2018 100 percent of the electricity required comes from renewable energy sources, something that is positively reflected in the CO2 balance of every vehicle produced there.
So, it’s no surprise that Mercedes-Benz are planning on producing a compact electric vehicle here under the new product and technology brand EQ in future. There couldn’t be a more suitable place if you ask me! In future, I will also be at home in the country that today already has more than 100 cities of with over a million people: China. But more on that later.
smart is on the road in every big city
Today, 21 years later, many first-generation models of me are still out and about in the metropolises around the world, for example in Paris, around 3.9 percent of all the approximately 17,000 smart cars currently registered are from the early construction years 1998 to 2000. In and around Rome (statistical area – Province of Rome) around 4.8 percent of the current 131,000 are from my family. When it comes to loyalty, the province of Milan even adds another tenth of a percentage point here: 4.9 percent of the current number of 32,600 smart cars registered there are from the early construction years 1998 to 2000. I am really pleased with this because a long use life not only spares resources, rather on top of that it also proves user satisfaction.
The search for a parking space is history
There is a good reason for that: People are increasingly moving into cities. However, space and time are ever scarcer. In this environment, the smart becomes a city hero because neither looking for a parking space nor negotiating the narrow alleyways in cities in southern Europe present a problem for the smart.
It really sounds like the vision is becoming a reality. But do I contribute to better quality of life in the city? Tom Jetter drives a smart and works at smart. His job is to make life in the city easier with clever digital services. He should know:
Parking in the city is really bothersome and is one of the greatest challenges in our cities: the average time spent looking for a parking space is 15 minutes. With a smart it is just 7 minutes and with our “ready to park” digital service it is 0 minutes because you can conveniently reserve a parking space by app. So there is no better helper than you, smart! You can skillfully wind your way through the city, like a scooter. When it rains, though, I have a roof over my head.
This parking advantage relieves not only the nerves of my drivers, but also the city! Perhaps you have already seen images of me the craziest parking positions? No matter whether with two or four doors – I am a real space saver that reduces the need for space in inner cities. Efficient use of parking space is one of the important aspects when we think of more quality of life in the city.
smart has long been an electric car
In the past while I have often heard that space is one of the quality criteria for more livable cities – and it seems to hold some essence of truth! But when I look at the news, I notice that there is something else hampering the cities: their air quality. The trend is therefore clearly headed for electric mobility – a trend that we acted upon at an early stage:
Even the initial vehicle studies in the 1990s had an electric motor. Then in 2007, a test fleet was launched in London to test the drive concept in day-to-day operation. In 2012 the smart electric drive went into series production. All three body variants have also been available as electrically driven smart EQ models (smart EQ fortwo – Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 15,7–13,9 kWh/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km; smart EQ fortwo cabrio – Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 15,8–13,9 kWh/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km und smart EQ forfour – Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 16,4–14,5 kWh/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km)** since 2017. This makes us the first and only car manufacturer worldwide to offer their entire range of models with both combustion engines as well as battery-electric drives. And soon they will only be electric!
My electric variant is therefore a constant part of the new Mercedes-Benz Cars EQ family since 2018. There’s more as well: I am even the first series vehicle of the new product and technology brand. My entire fleet will be gradually converted to electric drives, all part of being a pioneer in the city. We started, already, in 2017 and we are planning to follow with all European markets by 2020. I am now where I always aimed to be! So now do I rest on my laurels? No chance of that for me and my pioneering genes: In conjunction with Geely, I would like to continue to conquer the world with new models, entry into new segments and global growth. My next generation will therefore be built in a 50:50 Joint Venture developed by Geely and Daimler in China. I could not imagine a better partner by my side for the next chapter of the smart story! As equal partners, we will work together to bring my ideas and my pioneering spirit to even more cities – and thus promote the smart brand worldwide.
smart helps shaping the future of mobility
And that is by no means the end of the story: the possibilities of digitization pave the way for me into the future! The digital services that have been developed around me give you a little taster – they ensure more flexibility and less traffic in the city. With 31 locations worldwide, SHARE NOW is the global market leader for full-flexible car sharing. Currently, smart makes up a significant part of the fleet with more than 3,000 electrically driven vehicles. Now, there is also a similar service for private customers, right Tom?
Exactly! You now not only make life easier for your customer when they are looking for a parking space, rather you also make life easier beyond the vehicle itself: you will become a connected car with the ready-to services and the ready-to app. With smart ‘ready to park’ your owners can for example reserve a parking space and save a lot of time. In addition, ‘Ready to share’ allows for easy private car-sharing: In the space of just a few seconds, authorized users can open their friend’s smart with their smartphone. Studies show that private vehicles spend 94 percent of their time not in use. This means that private sharing contributes to sustainable use of the car and also makes it possible to convince family and friends of the benefits of electric mobility.
I am now really curious to see how I will help shape the future of mobility. The smart vision EQ fortwo vehicle study shows this very clearly. The autonomous car collects its passengers directly from where they wish and has no steering wheel or pedals. It is the first concept vehicle to embody all four pillars of the CASE strategy: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric.
So you still have quite a few plans for me!
*Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO2-Werte“ i.S.v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet.
** Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO2-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.