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Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Debuts Ahead of Frankfurt

Daimler's Smart division has just announced an updated version of their ForTwo Electric Drive ahead of the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Daimler's city car division, Smart, has just revealed online an updated version of their Fortwo Electric Drive ahead of next month's Frankfurt Auto Show. The new coupe has received a number of improvements such as more power for better acceleration and greater range. More specifically, it has a new electric motor that was developed in a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Bosch. The motor is rear-mounted and has a 33hp and 7 lb-ft of torque increase over the previous car's 73hp and 96 lb-ft.

The updated Fortwo can go from 0 to 37 mph in exactly 5 seconds and has a top speed of 75 mph (up from 62 mph). Perhaps the most interesting change is that the motor is powered by a new a lithium-ion battery produced by Deutsche ACCUmotive. This will replace the previously used Tesla-supplied battery. This new battery has an increase from 16.5 kW/h to 17.7 kW/h, which gives the car a supposed 5-mile range advantage over the outgoing model. That car could go 87 miles before needing a recharge. Smart is now stating in their official press release that the new car requires an eight-hour charge time on a 220-volt European socket.

However, using the car's onboard high-ampere charger will reduce that time to just under an hour. The automaker has confirmed that production of the Fortwo Electric Drive will be over 10,000 units annually, which is a significant increase over the 2,000 unit output of the outgoing model. In some other Smart related news, the company's new electric bicycle that was shown at the 2010 Paris Motor Show will be going into production. The Smart eBike is meant to provide another eco-friendly transportation tool that Mercedes-Benz claims has a "distinctive design with the characteristic smart signature."

Its main components consist of the aluminum frame, a plastic battery housing, handlebars, lights, and mudguards. "The 250 watt electric motor switches on as soon as the rider begins pedaling, while muscle power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a durable belt drive." No pricing has been released for either the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive or the eBike.

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