New all-electric two-seater arrives with the potential to make urban driving fun
For those with a short commute and seeking to avoid the congestion charge or urban- based car buyers wanting to contribute to a cleaner planet, the new Fortwo Electric Drive could be an interesting alternative to the petrol-powered version.
SMART HAS INTRODUCED electric versions of its Fortwo, Fortwo Cabriolet and Forfour. The new Electric Drive models are claimed to have better range and performance and significantly faster recharging times than their predecessors. The improvements are thanks to a new powertrain largely shared with the Renault Zoe and developments to the charging system. The Electric Drive models use a rear-mounted three-phase synchronous electric motor delivering 80bhp and 1181b ft to the rear wheels. These are increases of 5bhp and 221b ft on the electric motor used by the earlier Fortwo and Fortwo Cabriolet Electric Drive. It’s also 7bhp and 441b ft down on the electric motor used by the front-wheel-drive Zoe.
Drive is channelled through a fixed-ratio gearbox. Smart claims 0-62mph times of 11.5sec for the Fortwo. 11.8sec for the Fortwo Cabriolet and 12.7sec for the Forfour Electric Drive models. Each has a top speed limited to 81mph. Smart claims a nine-mile improvement in overall range over the previous Fortwo Electric Drive, with its new model achieving nearly 100 miles on the European test cycle. The added weight of the Fortwo Cabriolet and Forfour reduces the battery range by three miles over the Fortwo version to 96 miles. A 22kW charging system is claimed to recharge the battery in just 45 minutes. Smart’s trio of electric models are due to reach UK showrooms in the middle of next year. Pricing is expected to start at £20,000, after the government grant, for the Fortwo Electric Drive.
Mercedes’ EQ electric sub-brand will launch 10 new pure-electric vehicles between 2019 and 2025, and this push could be in addition to successors to the current electric Smart vehicles.
The maker’s new sub-brand will start its pure-electric push with the production version of the Generation EQ concept. Mercedes has registered all suitable EQ-prefixed badges: everything from a small EQA to a large EQS saloon could be feasible.
Marketing and sales boss Ola Källenius told: “Over a broad range of our portfolio, in volume segments, we will have attractive products at differing price ranges.” Källenius declined to confirm that the next generation of Smart EVS would be part of the EQ push, however, adding: “Right now, that’s the Smart Electric Drive and EQ is EQ.”
He also said that before 2025 additional hybrid models could be introduced to the EQ range: “EQ need not be pure EV.”
SMART’S range of Electric Drive models is making its world debut at this week’s Paris Motor Show, ahead of a launch in Europe early next year. Available in the ForTwo and ForFour, the ED has a three-phase motor giving 80bhp. Power is sent to the rear wheels, taking the ForTwo from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds. Top speed for all EDs is limited to 81mph, with a claimed range of 96 to 100 miles. The battery can be charged in 2.5 hours, but next year a 22kW fast charger will cut this to 45 minutes.
A radar energy recuperation system monitors traffic and then adjusts the regenerative braking to suit. An app also lets you heat the car remotely, plus the interior is available in electric green. Official prices haven’t been revealed, but expect the range to start at around £20,000. Elsewhere, Smart has announced its hot Brabus line-up will range from £16,320 for a Brabus ForTwo to £20,610 for a Brabus Cabrio.
An SUV is still on the cards for Mercedes sub-brand Smart. Daimler product manager Katharina Beck said: “Our philosophy is to provide urban agility and comfort in the city. If there are different solutions for urban drVers. we are always open for new things.”
Back in 2012 the brand prwiwed its new ForTwo and ForFour with the butked-up ForStars concept – and a version of this could be in showrooms before the end of the decade. Should it make production, a basic model is likely to cost around £14.000.
Officially it’s smart with a small ‘s’, which looks so strange that everyone else calls it a Smart car. The venture started with the boss of Swiss fashion watchmaker Swatch suggesting a tiny eco-car that would offer fun motoring to the young (or young at heart) whilst offering a helping hand to the choking planet. Nicolas Hayek’s first prospective partner was Volkswagen, but that venture came to nothing. He then jumped into bed with Daimler-Benz and a joint venture was formed using the MCC (Micro Compact Car) name. Continue reading “Smart City Coupe – 1998”