2017 smart fortwo passes (up) gas for electric drive

By Christoper A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(May 30, 2017) The polar opposite of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the U.S. version of the 2017 smart fortwo ditches its gasoline powerplant for electric drive. Available in coupe and cabrio form, the electric smart hits U.S. smart dealers this summer, and costs $1,200 less than the previous generation electric smart.

Excluding any federal or state incentives for purchasing an EV, the coupe starts at $23,800, while the cabrio — the only electric drive convertible available in the U.S. — starts at $28,000.

The 2017 smart features a more powerful electric motor, a higher top speed, and a faster AC charging time with the standard 7 kW on-board charger. In addition, cruise control is now standard, and a battery warranty has been added.

The rear-mounted 80 horsepower electric motor is mated to a single-speed gearbox, and produces 23 percent more torque (118 lb.-ft. versus 96 lb.-ft.) than the previous design. Charging time in the U.S. (0-80% charge via a 240-volt wallbox) is estimated at 2.5 hours, almost half that of its predecessor. Range is estimated at 70-80 miles.

The smart couple is available in pure, passion and prime trim levels, while the cabrio offers only the passion and prime trim options. New packages and options include Electric Green paint for the tridion cell, and an optional Climate Package. This features heated seats and steering wheel, and has greater insulation to improve climate control comfort and efficiency.

The Virtual Driver