Electric Smart from Hybrid Technologies on display at SEMA 2006

For $35,000 you could own an electric Smart. Hybrid Technologies showed off one of its early models at the SEMA Show. I didn't ask if the sky graphics were included. Even in factory colors, I'm sure this little gem will draw attention on the street. Not much in the way of technical information was available, but I have been offered a drive and face time with company engineers soon. The Smart is the second electric conversion offered by Hybrid. The first is a PT Cruiser. The company has a NYC taxi project under way with the PT Cruier to demonstrate the economic benefits of an EV in Manhattan where the average distance on a taxi shift is just over 100 miles. The PT Cruiser has an advertised range of 120 miles. To keep the vehicle in service, the plan is to replace the battery pack with every shift change. As one battery pack works in the vehicle, the other is charged. Both vehicles use a lithium-ion battery pack that weighs just under 500 pounds. The 35-grand price tag includes the vehicle; it's not a retro-fit conversion. The Smart was displayed in the DuPont Registry booth alongside numerous high-dollar vehicles. A company spokesperson said the initial target audience will be "early adapters" of technology and those serious about the environment.

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