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Smart debuts improved electric trio in Paris

More power, faster recharging for now three-strong EV range.

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Smart is unveiling significantly improved versions of its electric car line-up at the Paris motor show.

The Electric Drive range debuting on 29th September promises better performance and increased range over its predecessors, along with significantly improved recharging times.

The line-up will encompass all three Smart models including for the first time the ForFour. Smart claims to be the only manufacturer to offer its entire range with either internal combustion engines or electric motors, and the only manufacturer to offer a cabriolet electric vehicle.

The new powertrain is closely related to that in Renault’s Zoe, though employing a smaller battery, and made in Renault’s Clèon, Northern France.

The 60kW (81hp) electric motor sits in the rear of the car, powering the rear wheels and offering immediate torque of 160Nm, which is 5hp and 30Nm better than previous Smart Electric Drives.

Driving through a constant ratio with no gear changing, the 0-62mph time takes between 11.5 and 12.8 seconds depending on model, and all are limited to an 80mph top speed.

Smart claims a maximum range of 93 to 96 miles for the new models, while recharging of the 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery, which is encased into the car’s floor, has been halved from five to 2.5 hours for models in the UK and USA. German cars, which use a different charger, can be replenished 40 per cent faster than previously.

Smart also intends to make a new 22kW fast charger available in 2017, which will cut recharging time down to 45 minutes. A smartphone app is also available allowing owners to program and monitor various aspects of the car including battery charging.

The first of the new electric Smarts will go on sale early next year, initially in the US, with first UK examples expected on the roads in September 2017. UK prices are yet to be confirmed – in Germany prices will start from €27,839, which drops to €23,459 when the local environmental bonus is included. UK prices of the current line-up range from around £17,700.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.