New smart-eq Fortwo and Forfour launch EV of the future brand

Smart Fortwo and Forfour EQ Updated two and four-seat city car now electric-only for styling and technology upgrades

Smart has become the first mass-market manufacturer to go electric-only with new eq cars and cars being revealed ahead of their Frankfurt Motor Show to the public next week.

The model's updated EQ is said to allow the brand a "return to basics": sister firm Mercedes-Benz, the first conceived city car powered by local powertrain emissions long before smart was even formed.

After placing EV versions of its models in every generation since 2007, Smart announced in 2018 it would be a transition to an “all-electric urban mobility brand” as its management overhauled it, ditching the three-cylinder petrol variants.

The exterior of the new EQ model, described as "radically simple" by Daimler design boss Gorden Wagener, is an evolution of the car's outgoing look. The grate has been reduced and increased in size, although with a significant surface area blanked off as EMUs require less air cooling.

For the first time, the Fortwo and Forfour have different front end looks, with the smart four-seat giving a more “dynamic” profile than the “familiar face” of the smallest. A new rear tail lamp design is also featured, while full LED headlights are optional, as are various color combinations.

We should still see shots of the interior, but Smart claims a revised center console brings a new stowage in front of the selector drive to accommodate smartphones or two removable cup holders. More importantly, the new, simplified infotainment system offers better smartphone and wearable technology interoperability through on-board features, greater use of device native apps, and immediately introducing new apps or features when customers download them or update their phones. There's also a redesigned phone app that displays the car's charge level and allows pre-entry climate control to be programmed.

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One thing hasn't changed much, however, and that's the city-focused electric powertrain. Like outgoing EV models, the rear-mounted engine makes peak outputs of 79bhp and 118lb ft of torque, allowing a 0-37mph time of 4,8sec (4.9 for the convertible, and 5.2 for the ForFour) and a 0-62mph time of 11.6sec ( 11.9 for the convertible and 12.7 for the cars Top speed is 81mph for all models.

This is coupled with a compact 17.6kWh battery that allows quoted (NEDC in range) just under 100km, substantially less than most EV rivals. Smart claims it's still "however a few times" the average daily mileage in Germany, and the small battery size and weight means less packaging and dynamic trade-offs.

New features such as radar-based kinetic recuperation, which allows the vehicle to automatically brake behind the vehicle in front in an ideal way to recharge batteries, also help expand range.

Another benefit of a small battery is charging time. Even the standard internal plug can be charged in just 3,5 hours, while the optional 22kW power supply can be charged from 10% to 80% in 40 minutes. There's again no DC fast charging capability, but Smart is partnering with a network of Plugsurfing partners, which claims to provide easy access to nearly all public charging points via the app.

Pricing for the new Smart Range has yet to be announced, but given the absence of any powertrain upgrades, don't expect them to be too far off the base price of the outgoing model.

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