Smart has been field testing a fleet of battery-powered ForTwo ED models in Britain for several months. Now Auto Motor und Sport out of Germany is reporting that an updated version could begin testing in the U.S. as early as 2009. The current model uses high temperature sodium-nickel-chloride Zebra batteries. The new generation will switch to a lithium ion pack and could be tested in the Los Angeles area. There are no specs available at the moment, but Smart's Anders Jensen has said that if the testing provides positive results the car could move to production quickly. Given the relatively disappointing fuel economy of the gasoline-powered version of the ForTwo, an electric drive model could prove quite popular. The layout of the Smart makes it amenable to alternative drivetrains, with a battery pack able to slide under the double floor and an electric motor easily replacing the internal combustion engine.

[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]

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