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Tony O'Kane | May 6, 2009

If hybrids are still too "dirty" for you and hydrogen fuel cells just seem like a waste of time, you're probably one of those individuals that see electric cars as being the real saviour of our carbon-choked planet.

Mitsubishi will likely bring its i MiEV battery-electric city car here early next decade, but it appears that German minicar specialists smart will be joining Mitsubishi in the electric car club not long after.

The smart fortwo ed is slated to enter low-volume production later this year, with European sales beginning shortly thereafter. Daimler Australia has already put its hand up for it, and spokesman Peter Fadayev says it's locked in and will arrive "within the next five years".

smart fortwo ed

It's still unknown how much power and range the fortwo ed (that stands for Electric Drive) will have, but like the i MiEV it will probably make the most sense for drivers who need to commute from the inner suburbs to the city on a daily basis.

The ed in its present prototype form requires a dedicated charging station to refill its lithium-ion battery pack, but a consumer version should be able to get juiced-up from either a standard wall outlet or a home-fitted charging station. Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect it to command a small premium over the rest of the fortwo range.

smart fortwo ed

According to Mr Fadayev interest in the smart fortwo ed is already high in Australia, with many motorists contacting Daimler's local arm and inquiring about the car. With the smart's small size and eco-friendly powertrain, it could pave the way for a range of new all-electric commuter cars that would help ease congestion and clear the air - a sentiment shared by Dr Dieter Zetsche, President and CEO of Daimler AG.

"The future will see an ever-increasing proportion of traffic on the roads in urban centres around the world," said Dr Zetsche when unveiling the fortwo ed late last year.

"Zero-emission electric cars could shape the image of environmentally aware cities because zero local emission motoring is no longer science fiction – and also when seen as a whole emissions will be further reduced as the proportion of "green" electricity increases."

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