Smart To Offer Gas, Electric Versions Of All Cars In 2017
When all of the new-car introductions are completed for 2017, Smart will be in a unique place. The manufacturer of the tiny, two-place urbocars will be the only major brand on the market to offer each model in its lineup with two powerplants, a combustion engine, and an electric motor.
A subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, the automaker will introduce its 2017 Smart for Two Coupe and Cabrio at the soon-to-open Paris Auto Show. The electric version of the Coupe will arrive in the U.S. next spring. The Cabrio’s arrival is planned for the summer of 2017. Smart will release pricing later on.
“Smart is the ideal city car, and with electric drive it becomes a little more perfect,” Annette Winkler, the automaker’s chief executive, said in a statement to Automotive News. “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.”
Rolling off the assembly line at Smart’s Hambach, France, factory, the little two-doors employ lithium ion batteries supplied by another Daimler subsidiary, Deutsche Accumotive. While the manufacturer has not yet announced the range of the electric vehicles (EVs), Smart estimates the battery charge time will be 2.5 hours, using the high-performance onboard charger. The motors for both EVs deliver 80 horsepower and 118 pounds-feet of torque to the rear wheels.
Taking advantage of the flywheel effect – also called engine braking – power that would have been wasted as heat, when slowing down, software adjusts the accelerator pedal curve, so the Smart recovers the maximum amount of power possible. This is known as “Eco” mode. Another interesting feature is Smart’s pre-entry climate control. It is a feature that saves energy and extends range by letting the Smart EV reach an interior temperature, selected by the driver, while the two-door is still charging.
Each Electric Customizable
Each electric model is highly customizable thanks to a wide variety of available matte and metallic paint colors. One optional color that sets the electrics apart is, of course, Electric Green.
Smart did offer electric versions of the ForTwo Coupe and Cabrio for 2016, however, they were based on the second-generation vehicle. The gasoline-powered ForTwo Coupe restyled for the 2016 model year, is the platform for the new electric ForTwo. The gasoline-powered Cabrio’s redesign was set for the 2017 model year. The gas-engined version of the Cabrio is the platform for the new electric version.
As with all electric vehicles, model year 2016 sales have been affected by low gasoline prices. Through the first eight months of 2016, 3,439 Smarts were sold. The figure is down 26.5 percent from model year 2015, according to the Automotive News Data Center.