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Pre-production models to begin testing in the U.S. and Europe next year
Daimler AG has announced that the second generation Smart fortwo electric drive will go into series production starting in 2012. The announcement was made during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to the facility where the electric Smart cars will be built in Hambach, France.
A small number of vehicles will begin production in November of this year as Daimler continues to test the product durability and battery capability. Using a more compact lithium-ion battery pack sourced from U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc., the second generation of the Smart fortwo electric drive doesn’t compromise space and has adequate room for two adults. Power is rated at 30 kW (40-hp) and 120 Nm (89 ft-lbs) of torque, with a range of 135 km (84 miles). The initial vehicles will begin testing this year in cities across Europe and the U.S.
Smart claims the cars can hit 60 km/h in 6.5 seconds (the same as the gasoline models) and are speed-limited to 100 km/h (60 mph).
GALLERY: Smart fortwo Electric Drive
Official release after the jump: