A test drive of the 2nd-gen SmartForTwo ED (electric drive) by the gang over at Automobile revealed some pretty significant issues yet to be worked out by the Daimler brain-trust.

While the new Tesla-supplied  battery pack increases peak horsepower to 40 HP (from 27HP) the Smart can only provide this output for short bursts when the accelerator is pushed to the floor. The rest of the time, the car is limited to the original 27 hp. There would seem to be an issue with either the power electronics or thermal management of the battery pack. The result is lackadaisical acceleration, although the top speed of 62 mph is passable, as is the 84 mile range (assuming this is really achievable. the test was not long enough to establish range).

The other major problem seems to be the brakes.  Poor blending of the regenerative and friction braking makes it difficult to stop smoothly and annoying to drive the car. Based on these impressions, Daimler engineers have quite a few things to work out before releasing this machine to the buying public in 2012.