German automaker Smart is preparing a second version of its fortwo EV for production in November. The newest fortwos will be delivered by January 2010 to the e-mobility project in Berlin, thereby providing a day-to-day test of its unique features. Smart will release the second-generation fortwo in Paris, Rome and other major European cities by 2011 with plans for American deployment thereafter. After the lease-only period is complete, Smart will make the latest fortwo EV available for sale worldwide.
A 14kWh Tesla lithium-ion battery and a 30 kW electric motor power the smart fortwo EV. The battery powers the climate control unit thanks to a DC/DC converter. Smart says that the fortwo EV can be cooled and heated while charging for drivers concerned about seasonal temperature changes. The fortwo EV features a battery power indicator as well as a monitor displaying energy consumption and recuperation.
The performance of the Smart fortwo EV is designed with the urban driver in mind. The projected range of the fortwo EV is 62 miles per charge, which is sufficient for European drivers living close to the city center. Smart’s latest creation was designed with a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour, demonstrating the automaker’s commitment to an urban mobility vehicle. The fortwo EV can reach 37 miles per hour from a dead stop in 6.5 seconds according to Smart.
The latest version of the fortwo will be an affordable alternative to traditional coupes and small sedans. Smart claims that the fortwo EV costs about $2.85 (two euros) to operate for every 62 miles of travel. The use of a single fixed gear in the fortwo reduces wear and tear on the drive system. The automaker touts the small amount of maintenance needed on the drive train compared to traditional cars. While the MSRP for the fortwo EV has not been announced, Smart will likely keep the price close to its previous model to maintain brand loyalty.
Smart’s success in major cities throughout the world shows the success of its long-term rollout plans. The traditional version of the fortwo went from scarce to ubiquitous in the matter of two years. The X factor in Smart’s rollout plans, as with other automakers, is whether the fortwo can survive without an extensive charging infrastructure. Since the fortwo EV slated for 2010 release is designed for short trips into the city, Smart need not concern itself with the infrastructure question for the moment.