Review smart fortwo ed New car

19 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Review smart fortwo ed New car отключены
SMART ed cabrio Electric Cars

SMART FORTWO ED

SMART FORTWO ED NEW CAR REVIEW

The internal combustion engine has been the linchpin of the automotive industry from the word go and it’s hard to envisage a time when it won’t be. We’ve come a long way together after all. The problem, as you’ve probably heard, is one of pollution, greenhouse effects, rising sea levels, melting icecaps and sweaty polar bears. The internal combustion engine, it transpires, isn’t the most environmentally friendly of man’s creations, not when used on the vast and expanding scale it is today.

So what’s the alternative? The simple answer is that we don’t have a viable one, yet. Although cars like the smart fortwo ed are attempting to change that.

The fortwo ed is an electric car. Not a hybrid which uses a combination of electric motor and internal combustion engine or a fuel cell car which uses hydrogen fuel cells to produce electricity to drive an electric motor but an electric car with a battery charged from an external power source driving an electric motor. Milk floats, golf carts, the Sinclair C5, these are the electric car’s inauspicious ancestors but things have taken a turn for the better in recent times with the likes of the GWizz, the Tesla sportscar and the smart ed.

How green they are depends entirely on where the electricity used to charge them comes from but tailpipe emissions are zero and the ownership experience might not be the nightmare you’re probably imagining right now.

The electric motor in the smart produces 30kW of power with translates to 41bhp. That’s not a lot for a modern car but electric motors make up for their lack of top end by having their torque instantly available from a standing start. This helps the ed reach 30mph in 6.5 seconds which is a reasonable showing and enough to avoid embarrassment in urban traffic.

The maximum speed is limited to 60mph, so journeys out of the city are possible but a range of 70 miles means they’ll require careful planning or one hell of an extension lead.

.the cost savings and potential environmental benefits are major

The smart fortwo’s single most annoying feature has long been its sequential gearbox, even though it is improved on the latest models. Being electric, however, the ed does away with a conventional gearbox in favour of a straightforward choice between forward and reverse. Elsewhere, the smart’s driving characteristics are well suited to the urban environment with a turning circle so tight it appears to raise the very real possibility of the car rear ending itself.

It’s also possible to fit a pair of smarts into one conventional parking space.

Ignore the electric powertrain and the fortwo ed is basically a smart fortwo city car. It means that other road users will have little clue that you’re driving a vehicle that purports to be the planet’s saviour unless they happen to notice the absence of engine noise. If you want to drive an eco-car that screams its green credentials at the world with spaceship styling, the ed won’t tick your boxes. You could always redress the balance by painting daisies all over it and turfing the roof.

To charge it, owners simply plug it into a conventional 230-volt electrical socket, the lead being concealed behind the fuel filler cap.

There isn’t a lot of space inside but the smart’s funky cabin design feels fresh and youthful. The rev counter is replaced by a charge level indicator dial which can be rotated through 90 degrees so you can read it from outside the car while it’s charging. Getting the sodium-nickle chloride battery up to 80% capacity takes around four hours and a full charge takes eight hours, so it’s possible to get it done overnight.

Visit any motorshow and the stands will be packed with electric, hybrid and fuel cell concept vehicles but these represent the manufacturers showing us what they’d quite like to do at some point in the future, if they get around to it. Tour your local dealerships and very few will have electric models that the public can actually buy. In fairness, your local smart dealer won’t be able to help early-adopters either. The smart ed is only available to blue chip companies and local authorities who lease them from Mercedes-Benz, smart’s parent company.

SMART ed cabrio Electric Cars

They are out on UK roads now, however, which is further than most would-be electric car makers have got with their projects. Should the trial period go well, the ed will go on general sale in the next couple of years but by that time, it’s likely to have a few viable rivals to contend with.


The environmental impact of the fortwo ed hinges on where its electricity comes from. If it’s charged from a wind turbine in its owner’s back garden, it becomes a genuinely zero emissions vehicle. If it’s plugged into a household electrical socket and charged with energy made at a coal-fired power station, it’s less of a green option. What can’t be disputed is the cost.

The ed can do 300 miles for the price of a gallon of petrol. OK, it’ll need recharging five times to do it but at that price, who cares?

In addition to the fuel cost savings, there are all kinds of incentives around designed to promote the use of electric cars. Owners of the smart ed would be exempt from vehicle excise duty and the London congestion charge. They’d also get a preferential company car tax rate. Further advantages are to be gleaned from the reduction in maintenance costs associated with an electric powertrain that requires no oil, filters, spark plugs or other consumables.

The battery is maintenance free, can be recharged at least 1000 times and has a ten-year lifespan.

There’s life in the old internal combustion engine yet but even the most committed petrolhead would have to admit there’s a place for electric cars out there. The smart ed is one of the most thoroughly developed electric vehicles yet and while it has obvious drawbacks in terms of its range and lengthy recharging process, the cost savings and potential environmental benefits are major.

A network of recharging points in car parks and service stations would be needed for vehicles like the smart ed to really take off. That and further incentives to make electric cars more attractive to consumers. The smart ed appears to have the basics just about right, though, and in urban areas particularly, it makes real sense.

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