Ultra Urban Cruising Champ
A noble experiment, 2008’s newly designed “city commuter” vehicles was said to be coming to the US in increasing numbers, when smart upped the ante with their micro hybrid vehicle – the MHD (micro hybrid drive).
Smart GmbH has actually had this hybrid version of their fortwo since 2008, but sales have just recently started to take-off as we have seen record gasoline prices in 2011. Of late, the ForTwo Micro Hybrid has been mesmerizing motorists that love its 67.3 MPG rating with the available 71 horsepower engine.
At a price only $1200 more than a comparably equipped gas version of the smart, the Hybrid gets very close to the top mileage marks of any comparable vehicle available for sale in the US.
This hybrid also employs state-of-the-art micro-hybrid-technology to produce the ultra-high-tech start/stop functionality. This “green-inspired”, engineering design allows the power plant to come to a complete stop at traffic lights or when in heavy traffic congestion like traffic jams.
The ingenious design of the Hybrid allows the engine to completely and safely switch off at speeds of less than 5 MPH. As soon as the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal, the engine comes immediately to life again. This multi-step process is completely effortless; the operation is totally seamless and does not require any action on the part of the driver.
Best of all, the Hybrid even takes off in first gear, so that your trip can continue – completely uninterrupted and by design.
The clear winners here are the environment and your pocketbook – with resulting lowered fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Fuel economy is boosted by 12 percent over its all-gas powered sibling in city driving. On the highway, performance is improved to an even higher 20 percent improvement – without the need for a sacrifice of performance or comfort.
Smart continues to add more economical and environmental benefits through its comprehensive engineering process that also takes into account the braking system – there is no regenerative braking or – traction assistance.
Daimler and smart, GmbH have been selling this popular smart fortwo model in Europe since 2005. Although not intended for US production, a European smart fortwo cdi with a diesel power plant has been available with micro hybrid drive. This variant is able to achieve over 70 MPG.
This model was not able to meet US EPA standards and made it as far as Canada, but never to the US. Originally, the fortwo 3-cylinder, 61 HP smart gasoline version was also not able to meet EPA guidelines.
Fortunately, an independent California-based engine conversion company came to the rescue and, with some solid R&D, came-up with a solution that was implemented.
The smart hybrid gas model uses standard unleaded gasoline, and meeting EPA guidelines has not posed a problem.