Smart ForTwo electric will get off to a slow start in the U.S.

Daimler’s electric-powered Smart ForTwo will take on BMW’s MINI E in the U.S. in 2010; however, the electric Smart cars will be available in very limited numbers and in just a few U.S. cities. Among the few cities under consideration for the first U.S. sales will be San Francisco and Austin, Texas. According to Anders-Sundt Jensen, vice president for Smart brand communications, the electric Smart ForTwo’s will be available in more cities by 2012.

Daimler will offer the electric Smart ForTwo through leases just like the MINI E. Jensen says that while it’s too early to estimated the monthly lease payment, expect the car will have a premium price. Participants will lease the electric Smart for four years or 40,000 miles.

“The technology is quite expensive. Because the technology is an untraditional powertrain, you have a special customer requesting it,” Jensen told Automotive News at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. “You have customers who want to demonstrate by philosophy and their way of living that they are making a difference.”

The electric Smart ForTwo is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that allows for range of 62 to 68 miles on a single charge. Production will begin at the end of this year.