Saturday, September 22, 2007
SMART MICRO HYBRID
When the next Smart arrives here this fall, it will be offered only with a gasoline engine – not the 800 cc, three-cylinder turbodiesel that propels current models.
The gas version won't be as fuel-efficient as the diesel.
But a variant l set to bow in Europe early next year addresses that issue, while maintaining the new Smart's performance, its maker says.
Called the MHD, for Micro Hybrid Drive, the Euro-buggy will feature a belt-driven starter-generator like that used in GM's Saturn Vue and Aura hybrids.
It will also boast stop-start technology that shuts off the engine when the minicar comes to a halt.
Rated at 71 hp, the MHD is said to improve fuel consumption to 4.3 L/100 km (combined, on the European test cycle), which is marginally better than the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius.
Sounds like something more than a few North Americans would be interested in if the tiny variant ever arrives here.
By Gerry Molloy - Special to the Toronto Star