Today was the last day of my great experience at the Hambach plant. I had a meeting with a person who is dedicated to organize and implement all US specific issues at the Hambach plant. As you probably know, US smarts are in some ways different from European ones. For example, the smart gets different headlights, different sun shields and a panic button on the key. These are just some examples to comply with US regulations and different consumer tastes.
Another specialty about Hambach is that the smart electric drive is manufactured on the same production line as the smart with combustion engine. This is something very special. Series production of the new smart fortwo electric began in June 2012 and is completely integrated in the standardized production process. Hence, the vehicle concept's immanent potential for different drive systems is now optimally utilized.
The main difference between the combustor and the electric drive is of course the battery and the electric motor, the rest of the car looks the same. Even the trunk capacity stays the same. I was also able to test drive an electric. If you have the chance to do so, do it. It feels amazing how fast the car accelerates without any noise from the engine.
But not only the car is “green”. smart always tries to put best efforts in being an ecological plant. One example is how the plant treats wastewater. The sewage treatment plant treats it immediately at its origin, using a membrane filter system – the quality of treated wastewater is superior to quality of natural waters it is discharged into. Second, the presence of system partners on plant site also reduces the amount of kilometres trucks have to drive to deliver parts which in turn reduces CO2 emission. A third example is the new paint shop. With more than €50 millions it was the largest individual investment project. The new paint shop with environmentally-friendly liquid painting process is replacing the previous powder painting process and makes the smart production more ecologically friendly.15 years ago, when the plant was founded, powder painting was the most environmental friendly technology to colour a car. As time went by, liquid painting became more and more efficient and “green” – so one year ago it was decided to switch to the modern, nowadays ecologically better balanced liquid coating.
Unfortunately my week is over now. I really enjoyed my stay at Hambach and I am happy for the experience. I was glad to meet the people from Hambach. It is always nice to meet different people from the big smart family. I hope I could share some of my impressions and that you liked my blog.