2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
A few years back, when we all were faced with those astronomical figures at the pump, a new type of car showed up; the little Smart ForTwo, a car that symbolized what could be accomplished if a driver were willing to sacrifice everything for a low-cost, high-efficiency vehicle. With fuel prices sitting at above $4.00 per gallon, the sales of these little European imports exploded for a short time. But it wasn’t long before gas prices made their way back down, and Smart sales went catatonic just as quickly as they took off.
Now Smart has jumped into the race to be one of the first to bring a completely practical electric vehicle to market with the 2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.
Outside, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is differentiated from its internal combustion cousins by little more than a few splashes of green paint and a load of decals and emblems. The first handful of the vehicles will only be available in this color combination to help Smart build awareness of its EV program.
Likewise, little has changed inside the car’s cabin with the exception of a few new gauges. Two pods now keep tabs on the charge of the ED’s battery pack and how much the battery is either discharging or recharging in kilowatts. The ForTwo Electric Drive carries an onboard recharging system capable of restoring up to 10 kilowatts at a time as you use the car’s regenerative brakes. Otherwise, the interior is the same wild metallic green paint that makes its way indoors for the instrument cluster, and a new iPod integration kit is also available.
But the big news is what puts power to the wheels. Smart has sacrificed the standard 1.0-liter three-cylinder gas engine and automated manual transmission in favor of all-electric, including a 20-kilowatt electric motor that’s capable of “boosting” up to 30 kilowatts and is attached to a fixed gear. That works out to around 40 horsepower in boost mode, or 57 percent of what the standard gasoline powerplant produces. That figure is 20 lb-ft more than what the standard ForTwo delivers.