The Smart EQ ForTwo is probably the quickest, most efficient and fun way to cut through modern city traffic, regardless of whether you’re in London, Paris, Miami or Rome.
***Editor's Note: This content and related video focus mainly on the European perspective. Not all info applies to EV owners in the U.S.
Here are six things you need to know…
It’s a modern-day Mini
The inventor of the original Mini, Alec Issigonis, made his tech breakthrough by turning the car’s engine sideways and making it front-wheel drive, saving room in the engine compartment and making the cabin bigger. Engineer and CEO of watch company Swatch, Nicolas Hayek, may not have been a car guy, but he still had a dream to create a modern city car that would be big enough to carry two people and a case of beer. A collaboration with Mercedes-Benz followed and in 1997, the Smart car was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show - Smart being an acronym for ‘Swatch Mercedes Art’.
The first model measured just 2.5m in length, half a meter less than the original Mini, and featured removable body panels that allowed owners to change the color of their cars as easily as changing the color of their watch strap.
It was always meant to be an electric car
Hayek’s original vision was for the Smart car to be fitted with a hybrid powertrain to maximize fuel efficiency, but it wasn’t until 2007 when the first electric version of what became known as the Smart fortwo was produced.
Today, Smart now sits under the Mercedes EQ sub-brand and has become the first carmaker to completely switch from internal combustion engines to all electric power. Replacing the rear-mounted engine is an electric motor and Tesla supplied 17.6kWh battery pack to provide the equivalent of 82bhp.
It’s a pioneer
While the fortwo is available as a coupe, it is also available as a soft-top, making this the first mass-produced all-electric convertible on the market. Both versions use a structure that Smart calls a Tridion safety cell, which is an incredibly strong steel cage, cocooning the occupants in the event of a crash and transferring any of that impact energy away.
With zero tailpipe emissions and one of the smallest new car footprints available, the fortwo also provides a viable solution for personal urban mobility, where population density continues to increase. A recent United Nations report predicts the global population of those living in dense cities will increase from 55% to nearly 70% within 30 years.
Those are only three things you need to know. Do you want to know the other three? Just press play to the video.