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>I like torque – the thrill when you step on the gas. Except this time, it wasn’t a gas pedal. It was the accelerator in the new smart fortwo electric drive car. I got the chance to get behind the wheel of the new smart in Brooklyn last week. The electric motor generates torque instantly, unlike a conventional gas engine that takes time to build up power. The car takes off like a jack rabbit. It felt solid and seemed much larger than its diminutive size. Driving around the streets of Park Slope, I was thinking, this could be the future of the automobile and a pretty good one at that.

Range is 82 miles and it can be recharged in 3 1/2 hours with a standard 22oV outlet; 8 hours on a 110V. Smart USA plans to bring in 250 electric vehicles as a pilot, available only on lease. Smart is wisely targeting universities, businesses and municipalities, and to a lesser extent, early adopter consumers.