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Smart Plugs In with Next-Gen Fortwo Electric Drive

Fifth-generation battery microcar to debut in Paris next week.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Smart's next-generation Fortwo Electric Drive, or ED for short, is coming to the Paris Motor Show.

The Smart brand has long struggled to find a niche for its pint-sized Fortwo city car. It may make a better case with the arrival of the next-generation Electric Drive.

All but identical to the latest, gas-powered Smart Fortwo that made its debut last year, the Electric Drive, or ED, will be available in both coupe and cabriolet configurations when it reaches the U.S. market next year.

Auto Show News!

“The smart is the ideal city car, and with electric drive it becomes a little bit more perfect,” said Annette Winkler, the global Smart brand boss. (more…)

First Drive: 2011 Smart Electric Drive

Betting on batteries in Brooklyn.

by on Jun.10, 2010

Will Smart find 250 customers for the battery version of its fortwo microcar -- at twice the price and with an 82-mile range?

It’s not the traffic we find ourselves watching out for, though there’s plenty of it on the busy streets of Brooklyn, but the potholes, massive gaps in the pavement that yawn wide and threaten to engulf our entire little microcar.

It’s not a job but an adventure, at times, taking tomorrow’s cars out for a ride, though few draw as many glances – some admiring, others just agape — as the 2011 Smart fortwo Electric Drive.  Call it the ED, for short, a battery-powered version of the French-German microcar.

The auto industry, as a whole, is increasingly coming to embrace the concept of electrification, with plug-in hybrids, like the Chevrolet Volt, and pure battery-electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.  Even Mercedes-Benz is exploring its options, all the way up to a battery-powered version of its SLS supercar.

But the German maker’s sibling brand, Smart, seems especially well-suited to enter the electric field, delivering a battery version of its nimble little two-seater that was already targeted to the urban market.

Smart will launch sales of 250 EDs in the U.S., late this year, complimenting the fleet of more than 1,500 it will put on the road in Europe.  Plans call for launching full retail sales in 2012 as a 2013 model.  But the maker hopes to learn a lot, by then, as the original crop of guinea pigs, er, buyers put their EDs through the rigors of daily motoring.

(Click Here to see how Smart is betting on the ED to revive the brand.)

Stay Charged Up!

To get a sense of what they’re likely to discover, I headed to Brooklyn, earlier this week, where I squeezed into a fully-charged microcar alongside my colleague from, Joe Szczesny.


Can a Battery Car Recharge Smart?

Automaker launching test fleet of new electric vehicles.

by on Jun.10, 2010

Can a battery car version of the Smart fortwo help the brand keep its cool?

Few automotive brands have scored such a rapid rise – and suffered such an equally fast fall – as Smart, the microcar division of Daimler AG.  Desperately hoping to halt its ongoing slide, Smart executives are counting on an infusion of new products, including the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle.

About 250 Smart fortwo Electric Drive, or ED, models will be leased to U.S. customers over the coming months, with higher-volume sales set to begin in late 2012.  Though the Smart ED won’t do much to reverse slumping sales, it should put a halo around the brand until Smart can roll out new, conventionally-powered models closer to mid-decade.

“We are on the forefront of a revolution,” proclaimed Mark Langenbrinck, managing director of the Smart brand, during a media preview of the ED, in New York, this week.

(Click Here for the First Drive of the Smart Electric Drive.)

Your smart news source!

Looking out over the crowded metropolis, Langenbrinck noted that a century ago half the cars on New York roads were powered by batteries.  Some experts believe that for urban applications, clean electric powertrains could again come to dominate in the years ahead.  The technology does have some advantages in a city setting, where motorists are likely to clock far fewer miles than their suburban and rural counterparts.