France and Germany are neighbors, but car prices can vary significantly between the 2 countries. This comes from different taxes, different equipments, and when it comes to electric cars: government incentives. There’s none in Germany whereas there’s a fat one in France. 7,000 euros ($9,063). Another trick to make EVs cheaper is to sell them without the battery, which is leased on a separate basis. Smart offers the choice. Customers can buy the car complete, or get it without the battery and pay €65 ($84) each month to cover the sale&care lease. The proponents of this system say it gives buyers peace of mind because they can be sure their car will work forever. The battery will be quickly exchanged if there’s any trouble with it. But the opponents are quick to point out that drivers will have to pay forever. Even after 10 years, the car’s value will be very cheap, but the cost of the lease will remain the same. Or could it be otherwise? Nothing has been said about that, yet.
I’ve been told at the Paris motor show that the battery leasing system should be more popular in France than in Germany, though it’s too early to get hard data to prove the point. But the price difference is quite huge, it equals to half the price of the car. The Smart Electric Drive has just been officially launched in France with a €12,450 price tag, after the government’s incentive counted in, and the battery leased via the sale&care scheme. The very same car costs €23,680 ($30,658) with its battery in Germany, and €18,910 ($24,483) without it.
In the end, there may be more EVs driving in France, but if we think about sustainability, few people think the €7,000 incentive will last, nor that people wouldn’t mind paying a lease for a battery once their cars are old. Besides the production electric Smart, the manufacturer unveiled this Forstars concept at the Paris motor show. Next Smart will come as a 2 or as a 4 passenger model, it should look like this.