The tiny Smart two-seater now exists in electric form as the 2011 ForTwo Electric Drive, but only 250 cars are available for lease in the U.S. test program out of 1,500 worldwide. Higher production volume will begin in 2012 as a new generation of the car adopts battery and motor technology from Daimler, Smart's parent company based in Germany. The current generation's drivetrain was developed by Tesla Motors of California.
Smart says the ForTwo Electric Drive is available to "individuals as well as companies, municipalities and organizations" through a four-year, 40,000-mile lease. Monthly payments are $599 for the coupe and $649 for the soft-top convertible. This rate incorporates the $7,500 federal tax credit for which EVs are eligible.
Smart says the car's range is roughly 84 miles, and a fully depleted battery can be recharged in eight hours with a Level 2 charger at 240 volts. On regular 120-volt household power, it takes more than twice as long. Like other EVs, the ForTwo's cabin can be heated or cooled on grid power to maximize range once the charger is disconnected.
The lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive motor reside where the regular car's gas tank and gas engine reside, preserving interior space. The motor provides up to 30 kilowatts of power, roughly 40 horsepower.
All ForTwos in this program are white with green accents, including green wheels.