EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

June 9, 2013

Andover man makes electric cars work

You find two types of people who have a high passion for automobiles. The first is the typical car guy. He just likes big, powerful machines. You’re likely to see a car guy driving a fast, flashy auto.

The other type is his opposite, the militant environmentalist. Instead of enthusiasm for cars, his high passion is a zealous disapproval of them. The militant environmentalist blames autos for wrecking the entire earth.

But even environmentalists like the benefits and advantages of personal transportation. So you see them driving autos, too. You’re likely to find a militant environmentalist in a small, quiet, low-impact car. He is passionate about it precisely because it is not big and powerful.

Art Iworsley breaks both molds. Art drives a Smart Electric, which is the most ecologically friendly automobile you can own today. The miniature, two-seat Smart is as small as you can go and still call a vehicle an automobile. The Smart Electric runs on batteries alone. No gasoline gets anywhere near the car. It has a miles-per-gallon equivalent, or MPGe – a government concocted measure of what gas mileage for the model might be – of 122 miles per gallon in around-town driving.

The little electric is brand new, introduced by Smart in May and starting at a list price of $25,000. Officially the model is called the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, sold in the United States by Mercedes-Benz. Smart began as a joint undertaking between Mercedes and the European wristwatch company Swatch. The brand has sold gasoline-powered micro cars in the United States since 2008.

Art Iworsley, an Andover resident, purchased his Smart Electric three weeks ago at Smart Center Boston, a part of Herb Chambers Mercedes-Benz in Somerville. He bought a convertible version, with a fabric top that peels back and stacks behind the two seats and removable side rails atop the two doors. Art’s Smart is white, with zesty green accents like slashes surrounding the windshield and outlining the doors. The car is stubby and sprite. Art is unquestionably passionate about it.

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