This is actually Smart's third electric car, but the first serious attempt to make an EV people might actually buy. The last time around, in 2009, Smart only released 250 cars to retail customers in the U.S. and they were available for lease only and, at that, they cost about $600 a month. You could lease a very nice luxury car for that.
This time around, the new, improved Smart ED is for sale at a price of just $25,000 with no limit on how many they can sell. Factor in the federal plug-in car tax credit and that's just $17,500, or about what you might pay for a gasoline-powered subcompact. (The Cabriolet, shown here, will go for about $28,000.)
An association with actor McQueen can multiply the value of a machine.