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Smart Fortwo ED will have battery rental option in US, price not yet disclosed

•, By Jon LeSage
  Those buying or leasing the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive will have the option of renting the lithium ion battery for a monthly fee.

The US base price for the Smart Fortwo ED is $25,750, including shipping. The battery is covered under Smart's four-year/50,000 mile warranty, but once the warranty expires, owners and lessees must pay for battery maintenance and/or replacement. The rental price continues to cover the battery even after the warranty expires. When under warranty, if the battery drops below 80 percent efficiency, Smart will replace it.

In Europe, the purchase price starts at the equivalent of $30,398 with battery included, and around $23,680 when the battery is rented. Since its debut in Europe last fall, about 97 percent of buyers and lessees have opted to rent the battery, said Tracey Matura, head of Smart USA. Matura is hopeful the battery rental could "minimize the anxiety" that the battery would die out before the car. It went over so well in Europe that, "We thought, why not offer the same in the US?" she said.

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