NY Auto Show pics: Smart Car Electric Drive Passion Coupe

Mercedes-Benz Smart Car division has an especially small booth at the New York International Auto Show this year, but its cars have some big ideas. Above are some pictures of the new 2011 Electric Drive Passion Coupe from the show floor. The new cars are near identical replicas of the standard 100 percent gas-powered Passion Coupes (the all green cars at the end of the gallery), but appearances can be deceiving. The Electric Drive is a 100 percent electric vehicle that is following all of the new standards being set for electric cars and charging. It gets the equivalent of about 87 miles per gallon (94 city, 79 highway), has a range of 63 miles on a charge, and a charge time of about 12 hours. We haven’t driven the car, but Wired wasn’t too impressed with it. The magazine called the 20 horsepower car “ridiculously, maddeningly, needlessly slow.”

Like other Smart Cars, this guy is built for short distance city driving. Most full-size electric cars seem to be aiming for a 100 mile range and about 4-8 hours to charge, though charge times seem to vary wildly despite the standardized 240 volt charger that every manufacturer has complied with.

The Electric Drive is rear wheel drive, has a 16.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, and is built in a more environmentally friendly way than most cars on the market. The company estimates it will cost about $644 annually in electricity. The cost: $14,690.

(I’ve included a few promotional shots of gauges as well.)