New information is available about the smart fortwo electric, which will come out in limited numbers over the next two years before a 2012 rollout.

Production of the smart fortwo electric is expected to begin by the end of the year.  The car will initially be leased out to select customers across major cities in Europe and America before hitting the open market in 2012.

The two-seater uses a rear-mounted 30 kW motor running off a center-mounted lithium-ion battery, and immediately generating 120 Nm of torque.  At full charge, the car has a range of 115 kilometers (72 miles).  A quick three-hour charge in a 220-Volt socket provides about 30-40 km, while plugging the vehicle in overnight fully recharges the battery.  Smart's 14 kWh battery is provided by Tesla Motors.

With the magneto-electric motor the car goes from 0 to 60 in just 6.5 seconds.  This would be impressive if that figure were "60 miles," but it is kilometers.  As the car is meant for city driving, the top speed is electronically limited at 100 km/h.

Four year / 60,000 km leases will be given out to certain customers, beginning with those in Berlin.  Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Pisa, and Rome will follow.  Surprisingly, London is not mentioned as a distribution location, where owners would benefit from not having to pay the city's hefty congestion fee.  US cities were not specifically mentioned.  Following the first-generation lease rollout, the car will likely be tweaked continually until its 2012 full-market debut as a heavy volume vehicle.

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