Smart is working intensively on alternative drives and one of these is now going into series production. The smart forfour lpg (liquified petroleum gas) combines the petrol engines (47, 55, 70 or 80 kW) - which are themselves economical - with liquified petroleum gas drive. This does not only increase the vehicle’s cruising range, for example that of the 70 kW variant by 450 km to almost 1,300 km - above all it is kind to the environment and the wallet.
The environment benefits because the emissions produced by liquified gas drive are considerably lower than those of conventional combustion engines, and lpg is also kind on the wallet because a tank full of liquefied gas currently costs around just 19 euros. For purposes of comparison: drivers currently fork out around 32 euros to travel this far on premium grade petrol.
The liquified gas tank has a usable volume of around 30 litres. It is accommodated in the recess where the spare wheel is usually housed (under the luggage compartment). This means that there are no changes to the space available in the interior and the luggage compartment. The only difference is the switch for changing between the two drive types located on the centre console.
The driver is even able to change between the two fuel types whilst driving. The transition from one operating mode to the other is extremely smooth. Should the supply of liquified gas start to get low, the driver can easily continue to the next filling station (there are more than 1,300 liquefied gas filling stations in Germany) with the vehicle’s petrol drive.
Smart is using the AMI in Leipzig to test the response to the vehicle. The expected date for the start of orders of the smart forfour lpg is the end of April and it will go on sale at a very attractive price. It is planned to offer the vehicle for sale at the list price for the respective petrol variant - with no extra charge. In addition to this, the liquified gas drive will be offered as a retrofit solution for the smart forfour via smart centers. A date for the market launch has not yet been fixed.
Technological expertise in alternative drives
The Smart Forfour lpg once more underlines smart’s technological expertise. smart is in a position to offer alternative drive types. Series production could start as soon as these become an economically viable option for customers. This is already the case with the smart forfour lpg. Further drive types have already been presented to the public and are currently being tested.
In addition to the Smart Forfour with liquified gas drive, the smart fortwo cng (compressed natural gas) will also be presented at the AMI in Leipzig - a further show premiere. This vehicle offers a choice between petrol drive and natural gas drive. Furthermore, smart is currently testing a smart fortwo mild hybrid and a fortwo cdi hybrid.
smart presented a hybrid drive for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2005. The smart crosstown demonstrated that it is possible to have the best of both worlds: low fuel consumption and lots of driving fun. The smart fortwo ev - a two-seater with electric drive and running costs amounting to just a third of those of conventional petrol engines - was presented at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of this month.