WITH THE FIRST 1000 vehicles to go to European and US customers participating in mobility tests, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has entered production in France this week.
Australian hopefuls may have a wait on their hands, however. Mercedes-Benz Australia's Peter Fadeyev confirmed to TMR earlier this year that the Fortwo ED will appear locally "within the next five years".
According to Mr Fadayev, interest in the Fortwo ED is high in Australia; Daimler?s local arm is already fielding inquiries about the car.
Motivated by an electric motor nestled between the rear wheels, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive offers 30kW and 120Nm of torque, achieving a range of around 115km from one charge.
While the 30kW power rating is low by today's standards, the Smart Fortwo ED accelerates to 60km/h in 6.5 seconds - as quickly as the petrol version of the Fortwo.
Following its announced partnership with Tesla Motors, Daimler has used a lithium-ion battery supplied by the American electric vehicle company to power the Fortwo ED.
An overnight charge at a regular mains power outlet will see the Fortwo ED fully charged.
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,? Dr Zetsche said 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.?