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The smart Brand Will Now Be Fully Electric, and It's About Time

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author photo by Will Kinton April 2017

When I first saw a smart fortwo, I automatically assumed that it was an electric car. It was a tiny city car with no expectation of performance and very little practicality beyond the ability to park in the tiniest of spaces -- so it had to be an electric car, in my mind.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the smart fortwo wasn't an electric car -- and, instead, that it was powered by a fairly inefficient gasoline engine that could only manage about 33 miles per gallon in the city -- on premium fuel. A travesty!

But it's over now: smart has given up on gasoline power, recently announcing that it'll ditch its 89-horsepower 3-cylinder engine for the North American market beginning with the 2018 model year. Instead, all smart models will be fully electric.

To me, this makes sense. The smart fortwo has been practically begging for an electric powertrain from its inception. No one has ever bought a smart fortwo with dreams of highway road trips, so the ability to travel long distance is virtually irrelevant. This is a good thing, considering the 2018 fortwo will have only 74 miles of range, which is perfectly adequate for running errands in a city or commuting to work -- but little else. Better yet, the smart's electric motor will offer much more torque at low speeds over the gasoline engine, making it a more enjoyable car to drive around the city.

To me, this makes the Smart feel like the car it should've been from day one. I hate when cars have fake vents and hood scoops to make them look sporty, or fake exhaust sounds pumped into the cabin -- it's like the car is lying to you. And a gasoline smart, somehow, seems like exactly that. But by making the fortwo electric, it's like smart is making its tiny car more honest -- by admitting that it's a city car that really only belongs in cities. Indeed, in 2018, the smart fortwo will be exclusively a city car -- and that's a good thing.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The smart Brand Will Now Be Fully Electric, and It's About Time - Autotrader