Smart has improved its EV technology for the battery-powered versions of its ForTwo and ForFour with help from Renault. At 160 km, the Daimler subsidiary's electric drivetrain has a 10 percent longer range under the European testing regime than the previous powertrain. It also has a more powerful 60-kilowatt (81-hp) electric motor and 20 percent more torque at 160 Newton meters.
Power consumption has been reduced by 15 percent to 12.9 kilowatt hours per 100 km. The driving range of the ForTwo and ForFour EVs is much less than other full-electric cars on the market, but a larger battery to help extend the range could not be fitted in the car's chassis, executives said. Smart says the range is still plenty for city use. "We will tell customers that the 160-km range equals between 120 km and 130 km in real traffic conditions but in winter it could be even less," Rouven Remp, Smart’s product manager said.
The ForTwo and ForFour use electric drivetrains supplied by Renault, which has an industrial partnership with Daimler. The drivetrain is produced at Renault's plant in Cleon, France. The lithium-ion battery cells come from LG Chem. Daimler subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive manufactures the battery pack in Germany.
The ForTwo EV will be offered in Smart's global markets but the ForFour EV only will be sold in Europe. The ForTwo EV will launch first in the U.S., where 25 percent of the two-seat minicar's sales are the battery-powered version.
With a base price of 21,940 euros in Germany, the ForTwo EV is one of the most affordable EVs on the market. The four-door variant costs just 600 euros more. In Germany, the price could be as low as 18,000 euros with government and dealer incentives, Remp said. He sees such a price as a "kick starter" for EV take-up by consumers.