DaimlerChrysler's Smart brand makes some of the most recognizable cars on the road and despite their financials woes, it seems that they intend to keep on making more. One of their new concept models is the Smart Crosstown; it looks a bit like the love child of a Jeep (another brand owned by DaimlerChrysler) and a Smart Fortwo, though it certainly has more Smart genes than Jeep ones. The most interesting aspect of the Smart Crosstown is the gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain. "The crosstown smart car prototype combines an electric motor (with an output of up to 23 kW) with the 45 kW (61 hp) gasoline engine from the smart fortwo. The result is a 15% reduction in fuel consumption to 4.3 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers (55 mpg US). The smart crosstown furthermore offers approximately 10% better acceleration". More specs and photos below.
Details on the hybrid drivetrain from Green Car Congress:
The mild hybrid system offers start-stop capability as well as assistance during acceleration and during gear changes.
Instead of using a conventional automatic transmission and torque converter, the smart crosstown works with a manual transmission mechanism including friction-disc clutch. The advantages of this compared with a fully automatic transmission lie in the much higher efficiency, lower weight, more compact dimensions and lower production costs.
However, unlike an automatic transmission, this principle causes traction interruptions between opening and closing the clutch for gear shifting. In the smart crosstown these are bridged by the electric motor. For a few tenths of a second it supplies the propulsion power needed, enabling harmonious, steady acceleration over the whole gear spectrum.
Regenerative braking recharges the battery.
Smart also has Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), micro-hybrid, hybrid diesel and pure electric concept versions of fortwo cars. The diesel hybrid seems particularly promising with a fuel economy of 2.9 liters/100 km (81 mpg US), and the electric version (created in partnership with Zytek), with its range of 110 kilometers (62 miles), could be the perfect urban vehicle. It is unclear at this point which of these versions will be sold to the public.
Thanks to Remy Chevalier for the tip.
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