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Chicagoans Get Chance To Test-Drive New Smart Cars

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roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – If you have never driven an electric car before, you have a chance to do so Saturday and Sunday in the near Northwest Side Wicker Park neighborhood.

You can actually test-drive both a gas-powered Smart car and the electric version, to draw a comparison. Both have a surprising amount of pep. But there’s one thing missing from the electric, the vroom.

It’s noiseless except for a few beeps when you start the cark, and there’s only the faintest of noises when accelerating.

Mercedes-Benz builds the Smart car. Publicist Lindsey Burns says the lack of the “vroom” always throws first-time electric drivers.

“We physically have to put sound into the car just so people can actually tell that it’s on,” she said. “And that’s why when you turn the key in the ignition you hear a beeping sound. That signals to the driver that the car is actually on.”

Burns touts Smart’s ability to fit into half a parking space, which is no small bonus in city traffic. The test drive continues 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. both days at the Big Taco, 1531 N. Damen Av.

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