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The EV was smart's first attempt at an electric version of the fortwo 450. These were leased out to various organisations to promote the use of green motoring. At the time, the technology was not proven and as such, the cars were never released to the general public.

Many people wonder what the EV is like to drive and how the controls differ from that of a petrol / diesel. This article points out some of the key differences.

Perhaps the most obvious difference is the engine. There isn't one! The whole engine block and gearbox has been replaced with an electric motor developed by Zytek Engineering in England.

Inside the cabin, the fog light button has been replaced with an emergency kill switch...just in case anything goes wrong!

Seeing as there is no engine, there is no need for a rev counter! This is replaced with a battery life gauge. The EV can travel approximately 70 miles before requiring a 6h charge. As such, the car is put on charge whenever not in use. The onboard electronics control the charging so that the Nickel Metal Hydride batteries don't suffer from the memory effect.

There is aircon but seeing at there is no radiator or compressor, it doesn't work particularly well. The cool air is produced from a tiny DX unit powered from the batteries. Obviously, this has an effect on battery charge.

The gear stick has 3 positions only: neutral, reverse and drive.

The drive position is displayed in the dash rather than thr 1 or A symbols that are normally found. Note how a fuel gauge is displayed. However, for obvious reasons, all blobs are empty. Bizarrely enough, the water temperature gauge always displays 3 blobs!

As you would expect with an electric car, there is plenty of torque when pulling away. However, you are not going to make a quick getaway in an EV! The power delivery is constant and the drive is smooth. In traffic, it is like driving a normal car...but completely silent! For city driving, or short hops, this car is very good. Taking the energy used by charging, you are averaging an equivalent of 300mpg. Unsurprisingly, it is road tax and London congestion charge exempt.

The EV will be replaced by the ED (Electric Drive) in the new 451 shape, which will be available to the general public in 2012.