Smart Ed - click above for high-res image gallery
There has been considerable hope that electrifying the Smart ForTwo would dispense with the micro-car's poor driveability and allow people to use the urban runabout more comfortably. Unfortunately, it appears that even with new lithium ion energy storage, the second-generation electric city car is still not quite ready for prime time. Over at Automobile, they had a chance to sample a new Smart Ed with its Tesla-supplied battery pack and found the performance decidedly lacking.
While the peak power has been increased from the first-gen model's 27 hp to 40 hp, the Smart can only provide this output for short bursts when the accelerator is pushed to the floor. Most of the time, the car is limited to the original 27 hp. This seems to point to thermal issues with either the motor or power electronics. The result is leisurely acceleration barely better than neighborhood electric vehicles. The top speed of 62 mph is passable, as is the 84 mile range if the car can actually approach it. The other major problem seems to be the brakes. Poor blending of the regen and friction braking makes it difficult to stop smoothly and annoying to drive the car. Based on that first impression, Daimler engineers still have a lot of work to do.