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First Drive: Smart Fortwo electric drive. Image by Smart.

First Drive: Smart Fortwo electric drive
Smart reveals its second-generation Fortwo electric drive, with new batteries for more spark in town.

   



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| First Drive | New York, USA | Smart Fortwo electric drive |

You might have missed the existence of the first-generation Smart Fortwo electric drive as so few were built. This second-generation car will be more prevalent, thanks to 1,500 running off the production line, all with new Tesla-supplied lithium ion batteries promising greater range and less time hooked up to the mains.

In the Metal

Not so much metal here, as much of the Smart is plastic. That's good for keeping the weight down and keeping the draw on the batteries to a minimum. Aside from some green wheels and additional voltage instruments inside the Smart Fortwo electric drive looks just like any other Smart Fortwo - only you'll never see it parking up at a conventional fuel pump.

What you get for your Money

Nothing you can actually call your own for the moment. Like the original, the second-generation Smart Fortwo electric drive is only offered on a lease basis to a small number of drivers. It should cost around the same 375 as the first Fortwo electric drive cost. Specification includes air conditioning, iPod/USB connectivity, a CD player and Bluetooth telephony. Customers will be able to buy production examples from Smart showrooms in 2012.

Driving it

Get your head around the 84-mile range and the Smart Fortwo electric drive is brilliant. There's no jerky gearbox like its conventionally powered relatives, so it's smooth from standstill to its 60mph limited top speed. The ride remains pretty bouncy, but the steering is light and direct and the brakes positive. Manoeuvring at slow speed can prove a bit tricky, as the response of the accelerator is soft and there's no noise to tell you when to expect movement. It's something to get used to rather than a serious problem though.

It's brisk too, certainly quick enough for traffic in town, where it excels. You do have to be careful to watch out for pedestrians, as being silent means they'll often not hear the Smart approaching and step out onto the road. Other than that it all feels rather conventional, at least as conventional as any Smart can feel.

Worth Noting

Plug the Fortwo electric drive into the mains for thee and a half hours and you can charge its battery from 20- to 80 percent capacity. Full charging takes a bit longer, though it shouldn't take more than eight hours - or overnight. After around ten years the battery is removed for recycling and replaced, though nobody is currently saying how much that might cost.

Summary

It's not perfect, but for city-bound drivers the Smart Fortwo electric drive offers a real solution to urban transportation. Running costs should be around half that of a Fortwo petrol version, though that does come with an immediately rechargeable fuel tank and an existing fuelling infrastructure. It's a glimpse into the future though, and one that you can genuinely buy as of 2012. However, you'll need to source green electricity for it to be a truly green solution to your urban mobility needs.

Kyle Fortune - 28 Jun 2010



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2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.



2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.
 

2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.
 

2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.
 

2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.
 

2010 Smart electric drive. Image by Smart.
 






 

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