Zytek converted an initial one hundred ‘Smart Fortwos’ to fully electric versions at their production facilities in Fradley, Staffordshire. These vehicles took part in a market trial by selected British customers as lease vehicles from 2007 to 2009.

Drivetrain Designed and Manufactured By Zytek

The drivetrain installed in the smart electric drive utilizes state-of-the-art brushless DC motor technology that is designed and manufactured in-house by Zytek. 

The award-winning innovative drivetrain design integrates the electric motor, power and control electronics into one compact assembly with only three connections: water, high voltage(300V) and low voltage (12v).

Setting New Benchmarks

The Smart Fortwo EV sets a new benchmark within the electric vehicle sector, the 55kW drivetrain producing a top speed of 120km/h. 12 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometres gives it a range of 110 kilometres. These figures indicate that this is a vehicle ideal for short journeys in urban traffic.

It only takes three and a half hours to charge the battery from 30 to 80 percent of its capacity, so an empty battery can be fully charged in no more than eight hours (overnight).

Engine Location

The electric engine is located in the rear, installed into the three engine mounts exactly where the combustion engine would be in a conventional vehicle. The transmission, which has been locked in second gear, is likewise in the rear of the car.

The gear shift knob therefore could be omitted since it only uses one forward and one reverse gear.

Unchanged Interior And The Luggage Compartment

The charge level indicator for the battery was located where the rev counter would normally be (central position on the instrument panel), together with the analogue clock.  That was all that changed, and the interior and luggage compartment are just as spacious as before.

Battery Location

The power storage unit (a sodium-nickel chloride battery manufactured by MES- DEA of Switzerland) is positioned centrally in the car’s underbody.

Successful Trials and Production

The success of the UK trials led to the next generation smart 451 electric drive rolling off the production line from October 2009 through to April 2011. 

During this time over 2,000 smart electric drivetrains were produced at a dedicated Zytek facility at the ‘Smart Fortwo’ assembly plant in Hambach, France.

This experience has helped Zytek to become one of the world’s leading EV engineering companies.



Appointed by Audi, Zytek developed the key electrification technology for this existing sports roadcar platform, the outcome was a Nürburgring record for a two wheel drive electric road vehicle.


With a £4.5m UK government backed investment, we were selected by Gordon Murray to develop an ultra-efficient powertrain, resulting in a system 45% lighter than today’s production EV’s and “the world’s most efficient electric car”.


Vehicle electrification development was way ahead of its time (in 1997) with two motor systems and its positive impact on handling (opposed to Tesla’s single motor driving a conventional gearbox).