The problems with the old Smart Fortwo Electric Drive were fairly easy to work out. It was too slow, had only an average range, took too long to charge and it was too expensive - even when leasing.
Smart has taken the car back to the drawing board and fixed all these issues - and given the car a spit and polish in some other areas, too. The revised model was on display at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show and we were there to check it out.
Range and performance
We've tested the second-generation Fortwo Electric Drive on several occasions, and whilst delivering in some areas, it was a let down in others.
Compared to the regular gasoline Fortwo the ride, handling and drivetrain smoothness were all impressive, but by the standards of other electric cars performance was lacking.
The new model improves on the old car's 0 to 37mph time by 1.5 seconds, now taking only 5 seconds. 60 mph comes up in "less than 13 seconds", equivalent to a gasoline Fortwo. Top speed has risen to 75mph, up from 62mph. This is thanks to a new 35 kW electric motor (the old model was 20 kW) and peak power has risen to 55 kW for short bursts. Smart claims the 17.6 kWh battery is good for an 87 mile range in city traffic.
The previous Electric Drive used a Tesla-sourced lithium-ion battery, but the new car uses German supplier Deutche Accumotive. A new 22 kW charging system allows fast charging from completely empty to full capacity in only an hour. Smart is planning to offer a home installation package, with an as-yet unnamed "leading energy solutions" provider.
2012 smart fortwo electric drive, 2011 Frankfurt Auto ShowEnlarge Photo