Smart is about to become an electric car brand, at least as far as the United States and Canada are concerned.
The head of the Smart and Mercedes-Benz brands in the U.S., Dietmar Exler, confirmed in a letter sent to dealerships on February 13 that Smart will no longer offer models with internal combustion engines in the U.S. and Canada after the 2017 model year.
At present Smart offers locally the gasoline-powered ForTwo and ForTwo Cabrio as well as the battery-powered ForTwo Electric Drive and ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio. Owners of the gasoline-powered models shouldn’t worry as dealerships will continue to provide access to service and replacement parts.
In his letter, Exler explained that the decision was part of a long-term powertrain strategy for the Smart and Mercedes-Benz brands that will see vehicle electrification intensified. The strategy is one of four pillars of parent company Daimler’s overarching strategy known as CASE which calls for cars that are Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric.
Regardless, we aren’t talking about a lot of vehicles. In all of 2016, Smart only managed to move 6,211 cars in the U.S. And by eliminating the gasoline models, the automaker is able to improve its fleet-wide average fuel economy.