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Smart signs ALD as digital leasing partner for new-gen electric vehicles

Smart has appointed ALD Automotive as its exclusive digital leasing services partner for its new generation of all-electric vehicles.

The partnership will start with Smart’s new premium compact SUV due from Q1 2023

The partnership will start with Smart’s new premium compact SUV due from Q1 2023 – the brand is being reborn as an all-electric carmaker under a 50:50 joint venture between Daimler and Volvo parent Geely, with styling coming from the former and engineering expertise from the latter.

Alongside the development of premium, high-tech, all-electric compact vehicles, Smart is also looking to support drivers’ switch to EVs with associated services, and the tie-up with ALD will provide large corporates, SMEs and private individuals with access to a fully integrated digital leasing offering in Europe.

This will give online access to ALD Automotive’s full-service leasing packages with flexible durations and mileage. Contracts will be handled by ALD entirely online.

The service will launch initially in nine markets – including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain as well as Austria, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland. Further expansion is envisaged in additional European markets in due course.

Commenting on the partnership, Dirk Adelmann, CEO of Smart Europe, said: “ALD Automotive’s broad and wide-ranging expertise and highly customer-driven mindset makes them the best partner for us in leasing services for our customers in Europe.”

John Saffrett, deputy chief executive officer of ALD, added: “We are very proud to team up with pioneers like Smart who share a common vision of delivering mobility that supports sustainable and connected urban lifestyles. This partnership fully aligns with our ambitions to facilitate the energy transition and lead in the sustainable mobility revolution.”

An holistic end-to-end EV solution

It’s the latest work by the leasing and fleet management giant to support action on climate change. Its ALD Electric holistic end-to-end solution – from consultancy to charging facilities and digital services – will be available in 23 markets globally by the end of 2021.

ALD chief commercial officer Annie Pin said in an online conference held yesterday (15 September) that urgent action is needed to meet climate goals according to all recently released climate-related reports, and that fleets have a pivotal role here.

ALD’s data reveals that fleets can represent up to 50% of its clients’ internal emissions according to industry and business mode, and it says electrification is the key enabler to make an impact.

The question is no longer if, but when – and how fast – electrification will happen. EVs are already no longer niche; data for 2021 indicates battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will account for 13.6% of all new car sales in Europe, with a similar share being taken by plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

Corporate fleets will be ahead of the curve and ALD says it’s in its power to accelerate the uptake by enabling corporate fleet for adoption. Its ambition within the Move 2025 Strategic Plan is for 30% of new contracts to be electric vehicles (including BEVs, PHEVs and hydrogen fuel cells) by 2025 and 50% to be BEV by 2030.

Alongside the new Smart deal, ALD has strategic agreements with EV-only OEMs such as Tesla, Polestar and Lynk & Co and a deal with Ford for the Mustang Mach-E. It also has a charging partnership with ChargePoint, providing charging infrastructure hardware and software solutions on an international scale.

Matt Dale, EV & eLCV business owner at ALD, outlined: “Part of our role is to make the transition from internal combustion engine to battery electric vehicle is as simple as possible and as accessible as possible to as many people as we can. Developing products and services to help simplify the journey for all our customers is key to helping them reduce their carbon footprint and giving them support that they need on their journey, regardless of them having a car or an LCV fleet and whether they have a hundred or thousands of vehicles.

“It’s no longer a case of just buying or ordering the new car – our customers are moving to a whole new mobility solution and we are creating the products and services that will help them achieve this.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.