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Smart updates its electric car (pictures)

The 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive shows significant updates over the previous version, such as significantly more power. But most impressive is the incredibly low price.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 10 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The 2013 model year of the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive represents a significant update, with more power and a lower price. However, the body remains the same, funky-looking little two-seat carriage.
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Smart says it designed the Fortwo from the beginning to use either an internal combustion engine or electric drive motor. Unusual among small cars, it is rear-wheel-driven. The electric motor sits on the rear axle, while the battery module sits under the floor.
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There is no rear seat in the Fortwo Electric Drive, but the cabin is reasonably spacious for the two passengers it can carry. Coming in shorter than 9 feet, the car is very easy to park.
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On the Cabriolet version, the cloth top rolls back and bunches up behind the cabin. Roof rails can be manually removed for an open driving experience, or left in place.
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A standard J1772 charging port sits at the rear right of the car and brings the battery from dead to 100 percent in 6 hours when plugged into a 240-volt source.
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Although the Fortwo Electric Drive is very short, it offers decent headroom. The seats were comfortable and manually adjustable.
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This flashy red car had a nice cloth treatment over interior surfaces. There aren't a lot of tech options available, but Smart covers the basics, and includes a telematics system for monitoring charging.
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The steering uses electric power boosting, but it requires some effort to turn the wheel. The instrument cluster holds an analog speedometer and a simple LCD for trip information.
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The ignition sits behind the drive selector. Drive modes are kept simple, with Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive.
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This optional navigation system was a bit slow under route navigation, and it had a tough time keeping up with the actual location of the car.

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