August 15th 2010

Smart goes electric

Late 2010 will launch the limited edition Smart fortwo electric car, the first modern highway-ready electric vehicle available for less than $100,000.Our world is shifting for a less-gasoline-driven place, so the inclusion of another electric car is not surprising. This plug-in vehicle is ready when you are, a hot commodity for folks looking for a more energy-efficient advantage.

The car includes a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion batteries that fits conveniently under the car’s seat, replacing the previous fuel tank. It’s also smaller, which helps maintain a low centre of gravity, making the car easier to handle. Because the battery is so small, it doesn’t take up the already-pretty-small storage areas in the rest of the car.

And for noise? There is hardly any. The new car boasts very little–if any–sound indicating it’s on and ready to go. The transmission level is similar to that of the Smart car we all know and love, but instead is connected to a single-gear direct-drive transmission.

Reverse gear is replaced a simple switch to the opposite direction, and includes an 100-km/h top speed, perfect for city driving. The company says that a 0-60 km/h run takes 6.5 seconds, equal to what a regular Smart will do, perfect for getting up to speed with the rest of the non-electric traffic.

The electric Smart makes 30 kW of power, about the equivalent of 40 hp, with 120 newton metres of low-end torque available  from 0 rpm. It has an estimated range of 135 km battery life–perfect for daily commutes, although your mileage may vary. Once the battery reaches a 75 percent charge, the driver can use grid power for the climate control system, so when you get in your car it will already be warm (or cool) depending on the climate.

The price, currently only set in Europe, is about 700 Euros a month on a closed end, four-year lease term, which is approximately $900 per month CAN. Although this works to upwards of $40,000, the savings in fuel is worth it if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly alternative.

2011 Smart fortwo electric drive

Cost: €700 per month (in Europe) for 4 years
Type: RWD electric city car
Engine: 16.5 kWh plug-in lithium-ion battery
Power/Torque: 30 kW / 88.5 lb.-ft.
Speed: 6.5 seconds for 0-60km/h
Transmission: Direct drive
Fuel consumption: 0 L/100 km

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.