Smart Develops “Micro” Hybrid



Daimler’s European smart brand — set for launch in theU.S. next year — has developed a gasoline/electric hybrid model to boost fuel efficiency. But there are no plans to bring it to America at the moment.

Based around the all-new fortwo city car that goes on sale in Europe next month, the two-seater eco-model will be badged the MHD, for Micro Hybrid Drive. It features stop-start technology thanks to belt-driven starter generator that cuts the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt — at traffic lights, for example.


MHD will be available as a coupe or cabriolet but only with a 71-hp engine. Fuel economy rises from 60.1 to 65.7 mpg in the EU cycle, and there’s a reduction in CO2 emissions from 112 to 103 g/km. That undercuts hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid at 104 and 109 g/km respectively, and will make it Europe’s least-polluting gasoline model.


Also due next year is a fortwo with an 800-cc diesel, posting even more impressive figures of 85.6 mpg and 88 g/km of CO2. However, there is a downside — it’s not exactly what you’d call fast. The two-seater doesn’t hit 60 mph for 19.8 seconds and top speed is only 84 mph.


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