Smart to offer electric powertrains across entire lineup
Mercedes-Benz's Smart small-car brand will become the only major auto brand to offer its entire model lineup with both combustion engines and battery-electric drives, the automaker said Thursday.
Smart will debut the fourth generation of its electric powertrain at the Paris auto show, which starts next week. The updated electric drivetrain will be available in Smart's entire lineup, which includes the ForTwo coupe and cabriolet as well as the ForFour.
The full-electric cars are powered by an 60 kilowatt (81-hp) electric motor that offers 160 newton meters of torque, which is immediately available from a standstill. The motor works at the rear of the vehicle and transmits its power via a constant ratio to the wheels, Mercedes said in a release.
The range of the vehicles is 155km to 160km. Smart's previous-generation electric drive offered a 55 kilowatt (74-hp) electric motor, 130 newton meters of torque and a range of 145km.
The electric ForTwo coupe and cabrio and ForFour will have their European market debuts in early 2017. In Germany, the starting price for the ForTwo electric drive will be 21,940 euros. With the country's environmental bonus, the starting price drops below 18,000 euros.
Meanwhile, the ForTwo coupe is set to arrive in the U.S. next spring, while the cabrio is set to arrive in summer 2017. U.S. pricing and range will be announced at a later date. Smart is estimating that the charge time will be 2.5 hours when utilizing the high-performance on-board charger.
"The Smart is the ideal city car, and with electric drive it becomes a little bit more perfect," Smart CEO Annette Winkler said in a statement. “Together with lots of Smart fans and enthusiastic drivers of the predecessor generations, we are looking forward to the unique driving fun offered by the new Smart electric drive at very attractive prices, especially in countries where there is a buyer's premium."
The ForTwo coupe and cabrio electric vehicles are built at Smart’s factory in Hambach, France. The ForFour Electric Drive is produced at Renault's factory in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Daimler subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive supplies the vehicles' lithium-ion batteries.
Drivers can select “Eco” mode, which limits the maximum speed, adjusts the accelerator pedal curve and the maximum recuperation level is pre-selected.
Pre-entry climate control is another feature that is meant to save energy and extend the range. This enables the desired temperature to be reached in the interior while the vehicle is still charging at a socket, Mercedes said.
As with previous Smart cars, the electric versions will be highly customizable with matte and metallic paint colors, including the exclusive Electric Green.
Douglas A. Bolduc contributed to this report