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Smart Electric Cars

smart fortwo hybrid: Compact Car Maker Goes Green

The first hybrid car from smart will arrive

in Europe late in 2007, powered by a 1.0-

litre engine coupled to an electric motor

Hambach, France Micro automaker ‘smart’ has embarked upon a new green car push, revealing a range a zero and low emissions vehicles. Intended to appeal to the rapidly growing low emission vehicle market segment, smart has outlined three new versions of its recognisable Fortwo model:

Fortwo Petrol Hybrid drive

Fortwo Diesel Hybrid drive

Fortwo Pure Electric drive

At this stage only one model is scheduled for production, the Fortwo Hybrid drive, and is expected to hit dealerships in Europe by the end of 2007 after it rolls off the production line in mid October. It is powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor to boost fuel economy.

The other two models, the Fortwo CDI Diesel and the Fortwo Electric are currently being evaluated by smart. The diesel version is expected to arrive in 2008, and the future of the zero emissions pure electric version depend on how well the petrol hybrid version fairs on the new car sales chart.

If interest in the Fortwo Hybrid is strong and sales rise as 2008 rolls on, the 100% electric model may be fast-tracked to production.

Update. We received word from Mercedes Car Group’s media spokesman who said that customers will get to enjoy the new smart fortwo range when it is released here in the first quarter of next year. The full model range will be announced closer to its release date, along with Australian specifications and pricing.

He added that, The alternative powertrains from smart being presented to the press in Europe this week are a strong indication of the technology smart has been both thinking about and capable of developing.

smart Fortwo Hybrid drive

Expected to be on sale in Europe before years end, the hybrid smart Fortwo hasn’t been given a price point yet, but will likely add a premium to the standard Fortwo’s sticker price.

The hybrid system basically adds an electric motor connected to the axle drive, where the battery is housed under the driver’s seat and is charged via the motor and by recuperation of the braking energy.

As smart explains, the hybrid system’s belt-driven starter generator switches off the combustion engine in idling phases, for example at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic. In view of fuel economy and comfort, the electronics switch off the engine at a speed of below 8 km/h when the driver presses the brake pedal, signalising that he or she wants to stop.

Compared to the normal Fortwo model, the new hybrid drive version delivers an improvement in fuel efficiency of 12%, while outputting less carbon emissions. The company explains the combination of an electric motor and a combustion engine makes the smart Fortwo even more economical and environmentally friendly than ever.

The hybrid concept has been applied to both the 1.0-litre petrol and 0.8-litre (799cc) diesel models and feature 20kW electric motors that enable fuel-saving and completely emission-free driving in urban traffic according to smart.

Together, the petrol and electric motors provide the petrol-powered hybrid vehicle 53kW of power, but its fuel consumption that makes for a more striking figure: just 4.3 litres of petrol used for every 100km travelled, which is very efficient. Carbon output also dips, from 112 grams to approximately 103 grams per kilometre according to smart.

Smart Electric Cars

When applied to the 0.8-litre diesel mode, the hybrid concept works even more effectively.

As well as being able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h some four seconds faster than the standard smart Fortwo CDI, it also lowers fuel usage from 3.3 litres to 2.9L/100km, which is astounding. Furthermore, carbon dioxide emissions fall from 88 to 77 grams per kilometre.

According to the smart marque, this would make it the most fuel-efficient and climate-friendly diesel car when it hits the streets.

smart Fortwo Electric drive

Though it’s not listed on any release schedules at this stage, the purely electric smart car is one of the most intriguing, due largely to its zero emissions output (unless you consider source of the electricity used to charge it, which could be coal, nuclear etc).

Powered by a 30kW magnetic motor that sits at the rear of the smart Fortwo electric drive, the electric car is also fairly rapid, able to dispatch the zero to 60km/h dash in just 5.7 seconds. The purely electric smart’s maximum speed is rated at 112km/h, and in some countries and provinces the car will benefit from tax advantages.

The electric motor’s power comes from high-temperature battery made from what smart claims to be environmentally compatible materials: sodium-nickel-chloride. According to smart this is housed in the underbody, ensuring that interior and cargo space is not compromised.

With zero grams of carbon emissions, the smart Fortwo Electric drive could find favour in government fleets and also with the growing number of everyday drivers who want to lower their carbon footprint. On a full charge, the electric car has a distance of 115 kilometres, but as the technology and packaging improves, so will the travelling range.

As smart explains, when the battery is empty it can be charged at any 230 volt power socket. The European company claims that it will last for at least 1000 charges, and that the battery will last for up to ten years. What happens when the battery kicks the bucket is not yet known, but a service and replacement is likely.

The battery system takes four hours to charge it to 80% capacity and eight hours to charge it to full capacity, which could be done during the human sleep cycle.

smart Fortwo hybrid specifications:

Smart Electric Cars

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