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Third-generation smart fortwo electric drive to launch worldwide in spring 2012; first use of battery packs from Daimler JV Deutsche Accumotive and motor from JV EM-motive

Daimler will introduce the third-generation smart fortwo electric drive beginning in the spring of 2012, with a “five-figure” planned production level. The new generation of EVs will be available in more than 30 markets worldwide.

The new generation marks the first application of battery packs from Deutsche Accumotive—the automotive lithium-ion battery joint venture formed in 2008 by Daimler AG and Evonik Industries AG (earlier post). (Tesla is providing the battery packs for the second generation.)

The 17.6 kWh pack powers a 55 kW (peak) electric motor from the Daimler-Bosch JV EM-motive GmbH (earlier post); top speed is more than 120 km/h (75 mph), and range in city traffic is approximately 140 km (87 miles). The new smart fortwo electric drive accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 13 seconds.

The first generation of smart electric drive vehicles went into a test fleet deployed in London in 2007. The second generation was introduced in 2009 to 18 markets. The objective of the second generation, Daimler said, was to gather as much experience as possible about how customers use and charge electric vehicles. Demand exceeded the company’s expectations; instead of the planned 1,000 vehicles, more than 2,000 smart fortwo electric drives are being produced.

A higher top speed and better acceleration at speeds above 60 km/h were at the top of the customers’ list of priorities for future versions, Daimler said. Contrary to prevailing opinion, the range wasn’t the crucial point from the perspective of the test customers. The vast majority of users confirmed the results of surveys which say that people drive approximately 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles) per day on average in urban areas.

The new 55 kW motor—the first product from EM-motive—delivers torque of 130 N·m (96 lb-ft), enabling the speedier acceleration. With the higher top speed of more than 120 km/h, the battery-electric two-seater is on a par with the combustion-engined smart.

A full charge of the pack takes a maximum of eight hours at a household socket; a quick-charging function is as option. The 22 kW on-board charger enables a completely empty battery to be fully charged in less than an hour. A power cable is needed for this which is used to connect the vehicle to a public quick-charging station or a wallbox at home or work.

Comparison of 2nd and 3rd generations of smart fortwo electric drive
 2nd generation3rd generation
Production volume > 2000 vehicles Five-figure production volume
Availability 18 markets More than 30 markets
Output 20 kW constant
30 kW peak
35 kW constant
55 kW peak
Max. speed 100 km/h > 120 km/h
Acceleration 0 - 60 km/h 6.5 s 5 s
Li-ion battery provider Tesla Deutsche Accumotive

The new smart fortwo electric drive features fully automatic air conditioning with pollen filter and pre-air conditioning. As with the second generation, the vehicle can be pre-cooled or pre-heated as required for a programmed departure time when it is connected to the power network. A new feature is the possibility to start the pre-air conditioning via the internet or a smartphone at any time.

The smart drive app for the iPhone can be tailored to the smart fortwo electric drive with further functions. However, the current charge status or the SmartCharging charge configuration can also be controlled and managed via a web portal from a home computer or with any modern smartphone.

The Vehicle Homepage offers every third generation smart fortwo electric drive customer a chance to visualize the range on an interactive map with 3D views. All the destinations that can be reached with the current battery charge are displayed. The public charging stations within reach can also be seen at a glance.

If a desired destination is further away than the available range the Vehicle Homepage can be used to check the additional battery charge needed. Among other things the depiction of the range considers the topography and the route profile. The vehicle itself can also become active—i.e., information on the charge status and range can be sent by email or Twitter messages. The driver is notified as soon as the desired range can be reached with the current charge.

The smart fortwo electric drive can be connected to the internet at home via a standard powerline adapter (Homeplug AV) for SmartCharging. After entering the planned departure time in the vehicle or the web portal the vehicle will be fully charged in a battery-saving and economical way, and pre-air conditioned if required so that it is ready to start. The pre-air conditioning can also be activated online shortly before setting off.



This 3rd generation will be closer to Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiel and the regular ICE version performance.

The 4th e-generation will probably outperform the regular ICE version.

e-vehicles are moving in one step at a time.

Our local city Car Sharing firm (1100 compact cars) has bought 50 Leaf and local Hydro Power has installed 125 compatible quick charge points. Hourly rental-usage fees will be the same for electric or ICE units, fuel-electricity included.

Joseph Wilder

I like it. Where the gas Smart didn't quite cut it, this one makes a ton of sense. I hope MBZ sets a price point which will encourage interest in a small EV


"The 22 kW on-board charger enables a completely empty battery to be fully charged in less than an hour."

Surely that must be a misprint.


It's a 17.6 kWh pack, so charging at 22 kW would do the job in 48 minutes.

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