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Smart Fortwo with Stop-Start Coming; EV, Hybrids Concepts Get Earthy

Illustration for article titled Smart Fortwo with Stop-Start Coming; EV, Hybrids Concepts Get Earthy

What's smaller than a Maytag and runs on a gas-electric hybrid powertrain? If you answered Tom Cruise, give yourself an air punch. If you answered the Smart Fortwo, jump up on the couch and declare your love for someone half your age in an awkward display of borderline sociopathy. But we kid the Smart Fortwo. And in honor of Earth(TM), Smart showed off new alt-dot-energy versions of its minicar. They're just concepts, but expect a production model or two down the road. The zero-emission Smart Fortwo electric vehicle is a true EV with a rear-mounted 30 kW electric motor and sodium-nickel-chloride battery. Range is a mere 71 miles and it requires a 240v connection to top up. A Smart hybrid concept combines a 44-hp gas engine or 800cc diesel with a 20 kW electric motor. Slated for production later this year, the Fortwo micro hybrid drive will have engine stop-start function over the current automanual. Like mild hybrids from GM, the system uses a belt-driven starter generator to both power the car's electricals and crank over the engine in a fraction of a second. No word on a US release. Click through for pressifications.


Press Release:

The smart fortwo electric drive (ed): The zero emission town and city car

It comes with everything that makes a smart a smart - but it doesn't have a combustion engine. A 30 kW/41 bhp magnetic motor runs at the rear of the smart fortwo electric drive that is driven by a high-performance, high-temperature battery made from environmentally compatible sodium-nickel-chloride. This is housed in the underbody, which means that the interior space is not compromised.


Boasting NEDC consumption of just 12 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres and zero carbon dioxide emissions, the smart fortwo electric drive is the most economical and climate-friendly alternative in urban traffic. When charged, the 30 kW/41 bhp two-door car can travel around 115 kilometres (EUDC). When the battery is empty, it can be charged at any 230 volt power socket - at least 1000 times. The battery lasts for up to ten years. It takes four hours to charge it to 80 percent capacity and eight hours to charge it to full capacity.

The NEDC consumption costs stand at around just € 0.02 per kilometre, far below those of a combustion engine - despite offering almost the same performance. Acceleration from zero to 60 km/h is similar to that of the petrol variants and the car has a maximum speed of 112 km/h. Furthermore, as a zero emission car the smart fortwo electric drive enjoys tax advantages in many countries and is exempt from local restrictions such as the congestion charge. This small electric car offers a combination of agility, economy and environmental compatibility that is unique in this class.
The most important technical data on the smart fortwo electric drive at a glance:
Rated output

30 kW/41 bhp
0-60 km/h

5.7 s
Maximum speed

approx. 112 km/h

approx. 115 km

12 kWh/100 km
CO2 emissions

0 g/km

The smart fortwo micro hybrid drive (mhd): Even more economical and environmentally friendly thanks to start/stop function

From a particularly economical 52 kW variant of the smart fortwo with a start/stop function will roll off the production line in Hambach: the smart fortwo micro hybrid drive. From the end of the year it will be available as a coupé and a cabrio in all three lines - pure, pulse and passion. In addition, a limited special series that will offer an attractive price saving is planned to mark the market launch. The micro-hybrid variant will be available as a left-hand-drive ECE version in and all other markets.
The smart fortwo micro hybrid drive uses idling phases to switch off the engine and temporarily completely avoid fuel consumption, exhaust gas and noise emissions. In combination with the automated manual transmission already fitted in the production vehicle, customers can comfortably use this function with maximum start/stop availability. Studies have shown that in everyday traffic vehicles come to a stop every 1.3 kilometres on average.
Powerful belt-driven starter generator
At the heart of the system is a special belt-driven starter generator that supplies the vehicle's electrical system with voltage and has a secondary function as a starter. It is able to smoothly start up the combustion engine in a fraction of a second as soon as the driver releases the brake pedal. This dispenses with the need for a conventional starter motor that works on the flywheel of the crank assembly. In conjunction with slightly modified gear ratios, this strategy leads to a fuel saving of approximately 8 percent in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The standard consumption is reduced by approximately 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres - from 4.7 litres to around 4.3 litres. Depending on the traffic situation (heavy slow traffic), this can lead to a fuel saving of approximately 13 percent. There is also a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions from 112 grams to approx. 103 grams per kilometre.
The system was developed by smart in cooperation with Valeo GmbH and the Gates Corporation. The mechanical assembly comprises the starter generator STARS 137 from Valeo. This generator delivers torque of 42 metres or current of maximum 120 ampere at 14 volts - enough to guarantee a reliable engine start, even at a temperature of minus 25 degrees Celsius. To ensure a low-slip and durable connection of the crank assembly and the starter generator, both components were given wider belt pulleys, as was the water pump that is also driven. A six-rib poly-V-belt from Gates transmits the power.
Belt tension is particularly important because of the changing loads in start/stop operation. A coaxial spring-and-shock absorber unit that is hinged to the starter generator is supported by the engine block. The starter generator is pivoted so that it can apply the tension force to the belt drive. This ensures that both the belt section pulled by the combustion engine when it is running and the complementary belt section pulled by the starter during the start are able to reliably transmit the torque needed.
Control unit with integrated power electronics
The activities of the system are controlled by a separate control unit with integrated power electronics that is installed behind the battery recess. This communicates with the vehicle's other control units via CAN databus. A three-phase cable transmits the generator power of up to 120 ampere. The power electronics regulate the power of both the starter and the generator. An AGM battery stores the energy for the on-board electrics. The electrolyte is bound in an absorbent glass matt. Its physical properties make it more resistant to varying loaded and unloaded conditions (more cycle resistant) than conventional lead-acid batteries with sulphuric acid electrolyte.
The power electronics of the belt-driven starter generator switch off the combustion engine in idling phases, for example at traffic lights, level crossings or in stop-and-go traffic. In view of fuel economy and comfort, the electronics switch off the engine at a speed of below 8 km/h when the driver presses the brake pedal, signalising that he or she wants to stop. The engine starts as soon as the driver releases the brake pedal again. This guarantees an immediate response. The start/stop function can be deactivated if required with a switch on the centre console - until the next starting procedure (ignition off/ignition on).
The most important technical data on the new smart fortwo micro hybrid drive at a glance:

R3/4 valves per cylinder
Engine capacity

999 cc

72 x 81.8 mm
Rated output

52 kW/71 bhp at 5,800 rpm
Max. torque

92 Nm at 4,500 rpm
0-100 km/h

13.3 s
Maximum speed

145 km/h
Fuel consumption*

4.3 l/100 km (provisional figure)
Fuel saving

On average approx. 8 %,
approx. 13 % in city traffic (provisional figures)
CO2 emissions

103 g/km (provisional figure)
* Euro-premium in accordance with NEDC


Spy Photos: More on the 2008 Smart Fortwo; The Grass Is Always Greener: Smart Diesel Hybrid [internal]

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@al_beaton -

the whole point of a smart is that it's much easier to find a parking spot. Just the thing when you're in a hurry or running errands for your small business. Sounds to me like you haven't driven in e.g. Paris or Rome lately.

The Achilles heel is the high base price. A microhybrid option may make financial sense, though. The mild hybrid is not in the press release, so no comment on that.

The pure EV will be too expensive, even in Europe where fuel prices are high. Besides, claiming 0 gCO2/km for an EV is just plain dishonest - electricity has to be produced, so EV/PHEV manufacturers need to base their estimates on the power plant mix in the target market.

Anything else is just marketing. Btw: "torque of 42 meters"? Did anyone at smart actually proofread this press releases?