When the third-generation Smart electric car debuts in Canada next spring, it will be the lowest-priced, as well as the smallest, EV on the market.
The Smart ED - the current designation of the electric car - has a starting price of $26,990.
While Smart calls this car third-generation, the previous two generations have largely been test vehicles - in North America, Smart only imported 250 second-generations cars in 2011.
I had an opportunity to drive a second-generation car in January.
While power was adequate for the city, the car was woefully underpowered for North American highways - merging on an on-ramp was a white-knuckle affair. No wonder, since it only had 27 horsepower (with 40 hp available for up to two minutes).
The next-generation car's horsepower jumps to 75 with 96 lb.-ft. of torque. The car's 0-100 km/h acceleration time will be a respectable 13 seconds. It has a top speed of more than 120 km/h, on par with the gasoline version of the car, Smart claims.
A larger 17.6 kWh battery means the Smart electric drive can travel about 145 kilometres in city traffic. It will take eight hours to fully charge the Smart ED with a 240-volt charger, although Smart points out it takes only three hours to charge the car from 20 to 80 per cent.
It was reported earlier this year that the new car will be fitted with a directcurrent quick charger. Smart made no mention of that feature in this announcement.
Smart has also indicated the Smart ED will be available in a cabriolet model, which will be priced at $29,990. Smart Centres across the country are now taking orders for deliveries, expected to start in the spring of 2013.
While making the Smart ED announcement, Smart also rolled out an e-bike, equipped with a 250-watt electric motor and 423 kWh lithium-ion battery.
Depending on which of the four power-consumption settings are selected, the e-bike can travel up to 100 km.
It will be available this summer at a price of $3,240.
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