Automotive

Smart brings Electric Drive to all its city cars

Smart brings Electric Drive to...
The Smart Electric Drive models will be able to cover up to 160 km on a charge
The Smart Electric Drive models will be able to cover up to 160 km on a charge
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An electric car next to a pool is probably not such a Smart idea
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An electric car next to a pool is probably not such a Smart idea
The cabin is standard Smart fare
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The cabin is standard Smart fare
The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has the best range of the Smart bunch
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The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has the best range of the Smart bunch
The ForTwo ED will cover 160 km on one charge 
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The ForTwo ED will cover 160 km on one charge 
Just in case you weren't sure, this is an electric car
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Just in case you weren't sure, this is an electric car
The ForTwo Cabrio is the only electric drop top in the world at the moment 
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The ForTwo Cabrio is the only electric drop top in the world at the moment 
The ForTwo Cabrio has a range of 155 km 
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The ForTwo Cabrio has a range of 155 km 
There are plenty of special styling options available on the Smart Electric Drive
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There are plenty of special styling options available on the Smart Electric Drive
The Electric Drive has a 17.6 kWh battery pack wedged under the floor
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The Electric Drive has a 17.6 kWh battery pack wedged under the floor
The ForTwo Cabrio is the most expensive electric Smart
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The ForTwo Cabrio is the most expensive electric Smart
The green touches scattered around the body are a hint at the car's, er, green credentials 
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The green touches scattered around the body are a hint at the car's, er, green credentials 
Charging takes less than four hours using a fast wall box, or closer to six with a regular plug
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Charging takes less than four hours using a fast wall box, or closer to six with a regular plug
The splitter on the Smart doesn't have a practical impact, but it does look cool
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The splitter on the Smart doesn't have a practical impact, but it does look cool
Another hint at what's powering the Electric Drive
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Another hint at what's powering the Electric Drive
The ForTwo shares a lot with the Renault Twingo, but the ED is unique to Smart under the hood
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The ForTwo shares a lot with the Renault Twingo, but the ED is unique to Smart under the hood
There's no excuse for running out of juice with such a prominent battery readout
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There's no excuse for running out of juice with such a prominent battery readout
A modern interpretation of the classic Smart dials 
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A modern interpretation of the classic Smart dials 
Just plug in and play with the Smart ForTwo 
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Just plug in and play with the Smart ForTwo 
The classic Smart interior remains largely unchanged 
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The classic Smart interior remains largely unchanged 
The tridion safety cell stands out in green
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The tridion safety cell stands out in green
The range of up to 160 km should be more than enough for most city commuters
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The range of up to 160 km should be more than enough for most city commuters
Naturally, there's a Smart app for checking in on vehicle stats
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Naturally, there's a Smart app for checking in on vehicle stats
All three models are capable of doing an (electronically governed) 130 km/h (81 mph)
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All three models are capable of doing an (electronically governed) 130 km/h (81 mph)
The ForFour is slower than its smaller Electric Drive brethren, but there's more room in the back
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The ForFour is slower than its smaller Electric Drive brethren, but there's more room in the back
Smart isn't hiding the fact this is an electric car
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Smart isn't hiding the fact this is an electric car
A trio of electric Smarts gets on the move
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A trio of electric Smarts gets on the move
The Smart Electric Drive models will be able to cover up to 160 km on a charge
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The Smart Electric Drive models will be able to cover up to 160 km on a charge
View gallery - 27 images

Few cars seem as ready to be made electric as the Smart ForTwo and ForFour. They're tiny and rarely venture from city centers, which means massive range isn't really necessary. The new Smart Electric Drive, with up to 160 km range and torquey motors, could be the perfect runabout for inner city commuters with one eye on the environment.

The last generation ForTwo was available with electric power, but Smart has delved much deeper into the world of batteries with its latest offerings. Along with the tiny ForTwo, theForTwo Convertible and ForFour will also come in Electric Drive form, making Smart the only manufacturer worldwide to offer its entire range with internal combustion and pure electric offerings.

What's more, the death of the Tesla Roadster makes the ForTwo Cabrio the only electric convertible on the market.

The cabin is standard Smart fare
The cabin is standard Smart fare

All three models are powered by the same electric motor putting out 60 kW (81 hp) of power, and there's 160 Nm of torque on tap from standstill. Flat out in all three models, you'll be doing an (electronically governed) 130 km/h (81 mph), while the 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint takes 11.5 seconds in the ForTwo, pushing out to 12.7 seconds in the heavier ForFour.

That's not quick, but that's not really the point here. By limiting acceleration and top speed, Smart has managed to eke a range of 160 km (99 mi) out of the 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the ForTwo, and 155 km (94 mi) from the Cabrio and ForFour.

In the interests of maximizing that range, drivers are able to slip the car into Eco Mode, which changes the throttle map and makes the energy recuperation system more aggressive. The recuperation system also uses a forward-facing radar to monitor the traffic situation, and modifies the level of energy being drawn back into the battery based on what's ahead.

Charging takes six hours on a standard European/UK home plug, or twelve using an American plug. There is also an optional wall box, which drops those times to 2.5 hours in the US/UK and 3.5 hours in Europe.

The ForFour is slower than its smaller Electric Drive brethren, but there's more room in the back
The ForFour is slower than its smaller Electric Drive brethren, but there's more room in the back

The car also features a pre-entry climate control system, which cools the cabin down to the desired temperature while it's still plugged into the wall, rather than relying on the battery to do it when the driver hops in. Although the pre-cooling system can be manually set, it can also be programmed to automatically switch on in time for the daily commute.

Aside from the clever pre-cooling system, there's not a huge difference between the Electric Drive and regular Smart models. The funky rev counter has been adapted to map whether power is being consumed or harvested, and a prominent battery readout means there's no excuse for going flat.

Pricing for the Smart Electric Drive kicks off at €21,940 (about US$24,500) for the ForTwo, before jumping to €22,600 ($25,200) for the ForFour and €25,200 ($28,100) for the ForTwo Cabrio. It will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show, where we'll be on the ground covering all the action.

Source: Daimler

View gallery - 27 images
5 comments
VincentWolf
Boring, ugly, and depressingly slow. No thanks.
habakak
Smart!
LordInsidious
Vincent you just described city driving perfectly, so this must be the perfect city car. Given that the 4 seater is 10ksih less than the Bolt, the trend for cities to ban (or charge a fee to access downtown with ICE) and gas stations are slowly being driven out of city centers the electric offerings will hopefully do well.
Rann Xeroxx
BMW is working to replace the horrible gearbox in the Smart cars. The problem with them is not their size but cost, its just expensive to create ANY car regardless of size. Scaling up the size does not cost that much more.
icykel
A wonderfully 'smart' car except the price ! A good viable 'peoples' electric car should be no more than $10,000 to $12, 000.