First Drive 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive TheDetroitBureau com

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SMART ed cabrio Electric Cars

First Drive: 2013 Fortwo Electric Drive

The Smart ED s new, lower tag could be its biggest selling

It’s become one of the more silhouettes on the road – not necessarily a thing considering the Smart has been around in Europe before the turn of the Millennium and in showrooms since 2007. said, the maker is rolling out an version worth another the Smart Fortwo Electric – or, if you prefer for a car this small, just call it the ED.

This is the battery car for Daimler AG’s brand and the most ambitious, is probably understandable considering it is the most functional and enjoyable of the ED yet. The 2013 Smart car is faster, delivers better and steers and handles better its predecessors.

But what could be the effective selling point for the Smart Fortwo ED is the price The maker launched the 2013 at $199 a month.  That a $119 charge for the car itself and $80 a month for the new Battery Assurance

  In other words, customers the battery separately from the car Oddly, the package actually in at half the earlier lease for the entire vehicle, battery But to make the Fortwo ED even appealing, Smart is now dropping the price for the Coupe to just a month.

The 2013 Smart ED is as both a coupe and as a cabriolet the only convertible battery in fact.

As for the cabriolet – and, Smart is the only maker to a convertible electric vehicle – now drops from $239 to a month.

(For more on the new Assurance Plan and other news, Click Here .)

is just the latest maker to prices hoping to boost car sales which have lagging far behind proponents’ But price alone likely do much to move the needle if the don’t deliver better range and performance. To see how the Fortwo ED headed to Ann Arbor, for some driving time.

First, the basics: the third-generation Electric Drive is powered by electric motor which can up to 74 hp if you push it into what be called electric supercharger That’s up from 27 hp (and 40 with the previous generation. The new also deliver 96 foot of torque, which makes felt promptly while up with traffic or merging a freeway, where the older EV a bit.

A peak 74 hp might not like much but considering the size of the Smart fortwo enough to launch from 0 to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds, according to the That’s a full 1.2 seconds than the gasoline-powered Smart and it compares with an anemic 26 for the Gen-2 ED. Top speed, meanwhile is now 78 compared with the old 62 miles per – which wasn’t exactly if you needed to get on the highway.

The new ED still only gets 76 per charge.

The all-new smart drive is rated at 122 city or miles per gallon gasoline-equivalent, to the EPA. This is a somewhat number that is designed to a buyer a sense of how efficient the is compared to a conventionally-power automobile.

the number that is more to matter to buyers is 76 – as in 76 miles per And here, Smart was only to squeeze out a single extra compared to the previous ED, which has to be something of a disappointment.

Range of course, on how aggressively you drive, you drive and weather and road The combined city/highway range is a bit and you’ll pick up some miles if you minimize jack starts and effectively use brake

(In fact, even the regen system is far smoother and quieter the system used in the 2011 EV. The improvements in the brake system the quiet environment that is the one key and attractions of driving an EV.)

(Chevy slashes $5,000 off plug-in price. Click for the story.)

Daimler representatives to finesse the range issue by most users will on a regular basis once the reaches 20% just as they do a cell phone.

The Fortwo is largely the same — but for gauges that show, other things, remaining charge.

Charging time on a variety of factors, including temperature. From a 240-volt it only takes 3½ hours to go 20 to 80%, and about six hours to full charge from a battery. You’ll roughly those numbers with a 120-volt outlet.

Another was Smart’s decision not to offer a 440-volt DC quick charger which could get you to 80% from a battery in just 20 minutes or “It’s something we’re in mind” for a future update there are more available Level 3 chargers, Mike the program manager, told

On the plus side, the Smart ED suffer from the insufferable gearbox found in the gasoline of the Fortwo – perhaps the single factor working against microcar.

As we mentioned, the Smart ED is in coupe and cabriolet body both maintaining what has the smallest footprint of any car on U.S. The electric drive battery right where the fuel usually goes, in the underfloor between the front and rear normally housing the gas tank. position actually lowers the center of gravity and modestly its cornering capabilities.

The extremely wheelbase makes the Smart quite nimble, particularly in low-speed driving. On fast it’s a fair bit more and susceptible to jouncing around on ruined roads.

But the overall in weight distribution, along the added power, make the Fortwo ED more stable and to handle and, I thought, fun to drive.

Electric vehicles, in general, for everyone. And the Smart Fortwo, with a gas motor, is not for the mainstream. when you combine an electric and the Fortwo you get what is an arguably package.

Now factor in the minimal tag and you just might find to give the Smart Fortwo ED a drive.

Paul A. Eisenstein to this report.

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