The Smart Car Is Eventually Getting Phased Out Of Car2Go In America
11/13/17  Patrick George

Photo: Car2Go

While an all-new Smart Fortwo launched in 2015 and quickly made its way into
Car2Go fleets as well as private owners, months ago Mercedes-Benz announced
that the Fortwo would be going fully electric only in America. All new Smart
Fortwos in the U.S. will soon do away with the rear-mounted gas engine in
favor of batteries with a 60 mile range.

That does not mean Car2Go is transitioning to become an electric fleet to
keep up. Rather, the company says it’s beginning the process of moving off
Smarts altogether, shifting instead to Mercedes CLA sedans and GLA small

In other words, Car2Go’s about to get bigger and its cars more normal. While
the new Smarts are sticking around for a while, and replacing the older
“451” Smarts of years past, the future of the ride-sharing service is
Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The company has been announcing this to customers
over the past few months.

“We’d love to continue to offer a smart or similar size vehicle again if and
when that becomes an option once more,” a Car2Go spokesman told
Jalopnik.”And again, we’ve got a lot of new-gen Fortwos in NYC, DC,
Montreal, Toronto, Columbus and Vancouver that will be in service for quite
a while. While no other car is as nimble at fitting into tiny city street
parking spaces as the Smart, both the CLA and GLA are compact cars. GLA is
about a foot shorter than a CLA.”

It’s also kind of a shame because it reflects the lack how the U.S. lags
behind other countries in charging infrastructure.

“Car2Go does operate three successful EV fleets in Europe (Amsterdam,
Madrid, and Stuttgart) but they’re successful because those cities have
infrastructure necessary to operate EV carshare at scale,” the official
said. “We believe that electric is the future, and when conditions evolve in
North American cities we’d be glad to revisit EV carshare in the U.S. and

Like I said, it’s a bit sad to see to see the famous blue-and-white Smarts
start to fade from our streets. But the charging network isn’t there, and
it’s kind of easy to see the GLA and CLA having much wider appeal to
car-sharing customers. I’ve often heard prospective customers say they were
put off by the Smart’s tiny size, and let’s face it, the previous generation
was pretty abysmal to drive. In addition, the Benzes are both relatively
small and come with backup cameras, so they can do city car duty more or
less fine.

In addition, one of the Smart Fortwo’s main selling points in some European
countries was perpendicular parking—it could be backed up so it’s facing the
street, not parallel to the curb. That seldom seemed to ever fly in the
U.S., so the car was just never quite as practical here as it was in its
home market.

So farewell, little blue and white Smarts. May you all end up in a budget
spec racing series someday.
[© 2017 Gizmodo Media]
Second generation (Build series W451, 2007–2014)

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