The Electric Smart Car Re-engineered


The 2013 Smart Fortwo ED has new features, such as a larger battery array and an improved motor. There is one aspect of it that would attract the most attention, that is its sticker price.

Counting the federal income tax credit of US$7,500, the US$25,750 sticker price would be reduced to about US$18,250 when the vehicle becomes available to go on sale next spring. Aside from this federal subsidy, there are also state subsidies that can be applied depending on the state where the purchase was made. An example would be California, where its current zero emission program had recently awarded its 10,000th rebate, allowing the purchase price to be reduced a further US$2,500.

For other states aside from California, this sticker price makes the Fortwo ED the lowest priced electric vehicle to made available in the U.S. market. According to Donna Boland, spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz USA, the company did not intend to ‘play games’ and advertise the price to be inclusive of the government tax credits.

Smart USA had brought its electric vehicles to Brooklyn, New York for test drives along the waterfront and around Prospect Park. The borough was also the site for the 2010 test drives for the first Smart car, which was then available for leases, making the event a sort of a homecoming for the vehicle.

Tesla Motors, which had supplied the battery and other components for the MB B-Class EV, was not part of the consortium that had produced the new specifications of the battery and motor for the Smart Fortwo ED. This was confirmed by Heiko Schmidt, Product Manager for Smart during the Paris Motor Show. The battery pack for the upgraded Smart came from Deutsche ACCUmotive, a subsidiary of Daimler who also owns the Smart brand.

The vehicle would have a 17.6 Kwh battery pack with a peak production of 55 kilowatts and is able to produce a maximum output of 74 horsepower in two minute bursts. The motor is a joint venture product with Bosch. The battery can be charged to full using a 240 volt charger in about six hours with an add on price of US$1,300. In three and a half hours, the vehicle would charged between twenty and eighty percent with a travel range of ninety miles according to the company’s engineers. This range though still has not been confirmed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The overall feel of the vehicle is that is quick at acceleration due to an available 100 pound feet of torque with a manufacturer estimated acceleration of zero to sixty miles per hour in eleven and a half seconds. This is a marked improvement from its predecessor, but also quicker than the standard combustion engine Fortwo. The top speed is at eighty miles per hour when tested at the Brooklyn area during a stop and go session.

The interior design of the Smart is not a far cry from the standard vehicle, with its battery pack mounted under floor allowing for a little storage space. There are two dash mounted instruments that resemble tachometers that provide information on the vehicle’s charge and power demand. Other add on features include paddles mounted behind the steering wheel that control the deployment of the regenerative braking system. The vehicle is extra quiet save for a bit of motor whining and better handling for those wanting a small compact compact vehicle with a very small carbon footprint.