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by Tim Beissmann

Mercedes-Benz and smart will begin mass production of electric vehicles in 2012 as a result of today’s strengthening of the joint venture between Daimler AG and Robert Bosch GmbH.

The details of the new partnership will be finalised by mid-2011, from which time Daimler and Bosch will cooperate on the development and production of electric motors for all-electric vehicles from their bases in Stuttgart and Hildesheim, Germany

Production is scheduled to begin next year, and mass-produced vehicles from both Mercedes-Benz and smart will be equipped with the technology before the end of 2012.

The smart fortwo is likely to be among the first Daimler vehicles to benefit from the new technology. The city car division is currently in the final stage of EV testing, with around 1500 cars involved in pre-production programs around the world.

The current fortwo electric drive combines a 20kW/120Nm electric motor with a 16.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack for a range of 135km and a top speed of 100km/h. It takes three hours to recharge from 20 percent to 80 percent when plugged in to a standard power outlet.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz claims to have 20 years of experience in developing electric vehicles, and recently we have seen the result of this in a number of small-scale production and concept vehicles.

Mercedes is currently testing fleets of its A-Class and Vito E-CELL vehicles in Europe, proving the versatility of the electric system in its biggest and smallest vehicles.

In more exciting news, the German manufacturer has also committed to producing the SLS AMG E-CELL, with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche confirming the zero-emission supercar would be in global showrooms by 2013.




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