To mark the start of the production of the B-Class F-Cell and the Smart ED, Mercedes-Benz shows these vehicles as a part of the “TecDay E-Drive” in a appropriate ambience – on the Cote d’Azur in Monaco – where we looks at the new vehicles, too.

Reasons why the vehicles with alternative drive systems, will be presented in the Principality of Monaco are apparently not directly related to the hand – but if you informed more precisely, you learns that environmental protection is on top priority in the principality. Not only because of a tax concession of up to 9.000 euro. Another point is, that the small country on the Mediterranean Sea, would like to shine as a role model and wants to show his efforts to the outside.

The Daimler AG shows with the B-Class F-CELL an electric car with fuel cell technology, which has a range of 400 kilometers and which you can refuel in two and a half-minute. The smart fortwo ed with “electric drive” can you reach a range of 135 kilometers. In 2007 started the smart ed – first generation – in the city of London. Now follows the second generation of the electric drive system.

Mercedes-Benz presented at the prestigious restaurant “Zest” – near the harbor of Monte Carlo – several B-Class F-Cell and Smart ED, which were ready for extensive testing.

Already in mid September, we had the chance to test the B-Class F-Cell, but the Smart ED in second generation was completly uncharted territory for us. We only know the less powerful first generation of smart ed. Changes to our first drive, in the B-Class, are only the COMAND system, which has been expanded with the power flow display, such as already exists in the S400 HYBRID .

Smart ED “electric drive”

In a first round through the town of monaco we were able to test the Smart ED within 90 minutes, extensively. Looking at the performance data, they have improved significantly in contrast to his predecessor. The range is now 135 km – a rise of 35 km. This could reached by the replacement of the previously used nickel metal hybrid battery to new and modern lithium-ion batteries, which were developed in cooperation with the U.S. manufacturer Tesla.

We tried to spend the smart ed exactly where it belongs – urban traffic. We are driving forward onto the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit, and find exactly for what the smart ed was developed: Stop-and-go. If you use the normal Smart Fortwo, you have no big differences – the Smart ED feels just the same – only the sounds are different: No engine sound, lots of tire noise, and when you open the window you can hear a little grinding, which comes from the braking energy recovery system.

Our route went from the harbor area via the Formula 1 starting marks and the ascent towards the Hotel de Paris to the famous casino square, which posed no problems for the smart – quite the contrary: You feel never underpowered.

Arriving at the casino, our French colleagues had already present this unusual, quiet vehicle to a tour group. A few moments later, we drove into the entrance of the Hotel Metropole. On the way to the hotel we are still welcomed by other smart drivers with a “thumbs up”. Smart drivers greet each other for the most part, but in this case, they have seen our side label “electric drive”.

Downhill from the casino square you could imagine very quickly, how difficult it must be, to drive through the tight streets of Monte Carlo with a Formula 1 car – especially this are the advantages of our test car.

After arrival at the starting point in the Monaco harbor – 90 minutes later – our battery performance shows over 80%, our journey was good 60 minutes in pure urban traffic. We had not to charge the battery, but we do it for exercise. For a full charge cycle (0-100%) needs the smart about 8 hours. In 3 hours you can charge the battery from 20 to 80 percent. Considering the energy costs, we are currently within 1.40 euros in Monaco, and 2 euros in Germany – for 135 km distance – This is a very good cut.

Our conclusion: The Smart ED is one of the best urban vehicles and has his home in the city. The cause: The smart ed offers compact exterior dimensions and zero emissions, too. In the interior exists, in contrast to combustion engine no loss of space. In performance, the vehicle is motorized sufficiently and makes fun in urban traffic. There was only one weak point: We had to give the vehicle back! We had (really) like to keep! Congratulations to this successful product! The Production has already started in Hambach. Normal consumers, can order the vehicle in the smart center, unfortunately not before 2012. Until there, first cars will be leased to interested customers in selected test areas.

Pictures: (c) Passion Blog