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Electric cars in SA

The debate on whether or not Electric Vehicles (EV) are viable in South Africa rages on.

Smart gets clever with e-roadster

2011-02-21 09:32

FORSPEED? FOR REAL?: This miniaturized electric drive roadster is Smart’s take on what a contemporary crossblade would look like.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Smart
Model Forspeed
Engine electric
Power 34kW
Top Speed 120km/h
Smart has revealed a platform for its future design direction and technologies and called it the Forspeed.

Although this concept car (set to debut at the 2011 Geneva auto show) will not germinate into production Smart’s boss Dr Annette Winkler says "elements of the car will be carried over into future projects".

In terms of configuration, the Forspeed is classed as an electrically powered roadster, and, owing to its Smart name, is very compact. If you closely follow the brand you'll probably think of its as a modern-day version of Smart's Crossblade roadster that was bult in (very) limited numbers back in 2002. 

LIKE A TWO, BUT SMARTER

The man responsibilE for the electric roadster’s detailing and design is Steffen Kohl, Mercedes'  head of design. Kohl's touches include the Forspeed’s integrated solar cells (residing in the wind-deflectors, powering the car’s electronics) and its 'smiling' honeycomb grille which adds to the cuteness factor so characteristic of most Smart products.

Although the ForTwo proportions (on which it is based) are clearly visible, the Forspeed’s roadster style makes the most of the small car’s individual roll-hoop safety cell structure – integrating it as a strong styling element.

Packaged in the style of a watercraft, the Forspeed's cabin is divided into individual driver and passenger binnacles, with the helmsman having access to an Apple i-series smart phone (the irony) located next to the speedometer.

REAR-MOUNTED MOTOR

Powering the Forspeed is a rear-mounted electric motor worth 29kW, with the driver having access to an additional 5kW courtesy of a centre console actuated electric ‘boost’ button. Smart claims its Forspeed runs a true 120km/h top end (not really built for speed then, now is it?) and has a single charge endurance of 135km.

Smart says the Forspeed is rechargeable from a conventional wall socket to 80% of its battery capacity in only 45 minutes.

It might not be fast (contrary to what its name implies) but the Smart Forspeed sure is cute.
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