You might not have realised, but we’re now on the third generation of Smart’s Fortwo electric drive.
Previous generations were lease-only and rarely seen, usually used in test fleets by businesses, to determine the viability of electric cars.
This time, the car is actually going on sale. smart is boasting better performance and a longer range from its new electric drivetrain – so are we looking at the perfect city car?
Actually, it’s not far off. The Fortwo has always been a uniquely-styled vehicle and never more so than when painted in vivid shades of white and green, but the real benefit of that small footprint is its parking ability. Smart drivers can fit in spaces that few others can, and the car’s relatively narrow width is actually quite liberating if you’re used to driving wide modern cars. And naturally, with no gears and only two pedals, it’s simplicity in itself to drive.
The short platform does compromise the ride quality, made all the more firm to ensure the car stays level in bends. It’s actually quite fun to dart the car through corners as a result, but bumps in the road occasionally make you wince as they crash through the cabin.
Performance really is much improved over previous versions. In fact, BRABUS Fortwo aside, it’s probably the quickest car Smart makes, at 11.5 seconds to 62mph. Push the accelerator pedal further, as if activating a kickdown function, and you get an extra boost of power from the 74 bhp motor – overtaking isn’t out of the question, and you’ll surprise a lot of people at traffic lights. Top speed is 78 mph.
Charging takes 10-12 hours from absolutely empty to totally full, though a 20-80 percent charge from the same standard household socket takes a more reasonable 3.5 hours. Smart is claiming a 90-mile range, though this does depend on driving conditions.
Other than that, it’s all standard Smart: Two seats, a boot suitable for a small weekly shop, and a funky, airy, fairly comfortable interior.
Price as tested: TBA (£15,000 approx, due Spring 2013)
Range: 90 miles
CO2: 0 g/km
The Fortwo is actually getting on a bit now, and constant concept cars at motor shows suggest the next version isn’t too far away, but in the meantime, the electric drive is probably the best car the company makes.
Shorn of a jerky gearchange and noisy engines, the Fortwo is much better as an electric vehicle, even though the 90-mile range won’t let you undertake road trips in the way many Smart owners love to do. If you can afford it, have a garage or driveway on which to charge it and rarely venture out of town, the Fortwo electric drive really could be the perfect city car.
For more information, check out our full summary of the Smart Fortwo alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!