Mainstream American consumers may not be willing to cough up tens of thousands of dollars to buy new electric vehicles just yet, but they may be tempted to rent one. The Hertz Corp. and Smart USA today announced a joint partnership to bring the all-electric version of the Fortwo mini to Connect by Hertz car sharing and Hertz Rent A Car locations in New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco.
The Smart Fortwo electric drive will be available in New York City starting December 15 through Hertz's car sharing program. San Fransisco and Washington DC will follow shortly after, with more cities to be added later next year. The rental fleet of Smart EV's are part of the Hertz Global EV program that will offer a variety of 100 percent electric and plug-in hybrids, including the Chevy Volt and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, to car sharing and rental customers around the world
Smart's EV is powered by a 30 kW drive magneto-electric motor and 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. According to Smart, when plugged into a 220V outlet, it takes approximately three and a half hours to charge the battery from 20 to 80 percent of its capacity and less than eight hours to fully charge it. It is estimated that the Fortwo has a driving range of around 80 miles (130 km).
The Daimler-owned company plans to employ a fleet of 2011 Fortwo electric drive vehicles across the United States, targeting early adopters of electric drive technology before series production begins in 2012 and the car goes on sale through Smart USA's dealer network.