cmec_1.jpgAnother Chinese car that looks like a copycat of a western model, this time with the twist that its electric.

Chinese
company CMEC Suzhou has produced a replica of DaimlerChrylser's Smart
fortwo, the tiny car that has proved popular as a runabout in Europe's
more congested cities but has hardly revolutionised the automotive
world.

According to Deutsche Welle, the Suzhou-based company is planning to sell the car under the name of City Smart in Europe, starting in 2007. CMEC's City Smart will cost just €4,200, a third of the price of the Smart fortwo.

The
disadvantage, of course, is that because its electric, the top speed of
the City Smart is 55kph — slightly more than the urban speed limit in
Europe.

CMEC Suzhou is
part of the CMEC group and has been making golf carts and other
electric vehicles for almost two decades. The company seems unperturbed
by the strong possibility of legal action from DaimlerChrysler. Jerry
Chen, sales manager for CMEC Suzhou, told Deutsche Welle:

When
we designed the car we were aware that we might be opening ourselves up
to legal action. That's why we've imitated the outside but concentrated
on making the interior look different.”

DaimlerChrysler
has reportedly demanded that CMEC change the external appearance of its
car. Chen said that alterations have already been made to the front end
and trunk and “the entire impression is now very different.”

Interestingly, DaimlerChrysler has also developed an electric version of its city car,
called the Smart fortwo EV, which went on show at this year's British
Motor Show. Up to 200 of the electric cars will be built and delivered
to the UK, which will serve as the trial market for the green vehicle.

DaimlerChrysler
sold just 88,000 of its Smart fortwo in the first nine months of this
year, although it hopes to reignite sales with a model revamp due next
year.

Hat-tip to Green Car Congress for the photo of the Chinese City Smart.

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