Now in its fourth-generation, the current Smart Fortwo subcompact has already impressed me with a quantum leap in quality over the previous generations.

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It's about to get even better for fans of urban electric vehicles with today's unveiling of the 2017 Smart Fortwo electric drive.

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The Smart ED, for short, is powered by a lithium ion battery pack that sends its juice to an 81 horsepower (60 kW) electric motor sitting atop and driving the rear wheels.

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Torque is stated at a decent-for-a-car-this-small 118 pound-feet.

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The top speed has been electronically limited to 80 mph (130 kph) "to maximise the range," which is stated at about 100 miles (160 km) on the New European Driving Cycle.

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You'll have to round that number down a bit for real-world American driving. I'm guessing around 80 miles is in order.

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Some of the numbers are pretty modest, but remember that the Fortwo is laser targeted at urban driving and car sharing; people don't usually take extended road trips in these.

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Between trips, the new ED charges twice as fast as the previous generation.

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Smart claims just 2.5 hours from 20 to 100-percent on the US and UK wallbox charger. In European markets that offer three-phase power, a 22 kW charger can recharge the little EV in just 45 minutes.

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The 2017 Smart Fortwo electric drive hits the road in Germany later this year alongside the rag-topped ForTwo Cabrio electric drive and, for the first time ever, the four-seater Forfour electric drive.

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Pricing starts at 21,940 euros (about $25k). The Fortwo electric drive models will then launch in the U.S. in Spring 2017.

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