It’s small, cute and has seating for two, but how do Nikki and Mark feel after just a few minutes at the wheel of Smart’s first production electric car?
Welcome to the first episode of QuickCharge, the show where your intrepid Transport Evolved hosts get behind the wheel of a new car and record their first impressions to camera. Unlike our other shows, which are recorded on professional camera and audio equipment, QuickCharge is recorded in a quick’n’dirty style in order to truly capture our first impressions, unencumbered by camera equipment and sound checks.
This week, we’re testing the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. Let’s see what Mark thinks first:
At £16,268.34 before a £3,993,34 government grant is applied for the car alone with £55 a month battery rental, the Smart ForTwo ED coupe is certainly one of the cheaper plug-in cars on the market in Europe today. Decide to buy the car outright, including the battery pack, and you’ll be looking to pay out in excess of £19,388.34 before the £3,993.34 government grant is applied. Why only £3,993.34 instead of the usual £5,000 government grant? First, the Smart ForTwo’s Manufacturers Suggested Retail price is too low to qualify it for the full grant amount. Second, it is only a two-seater with a range just shy of 70 miles per charge.
At this point it’s worth noting too that like the rest of the Smart ForTwo range, there’s an optional cabriolet version of the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. Naturally, this costs a little more than its hard-topped sibling, adding another £1500 in the UK to the price.
For U.S. buyers, Smart is sweetening the deal with a $139 per month three-year, 30,000 mile lease deal that includes battery rental. You’ll need to put down $1,999 as a deposit however, and live in one of the key sales areas of California, Oregon, or the East coast. Buying is also available in the U.S., with prices starting as low as $25,000 for the coupe and $28,000 for the cabriolet version, before state and federal incentives.
After Mark’s verdict, here are Nikki’s first thoughts:
While U.S. buyers will be initially stuck with the 6-12 hours-until-full 3.3 kilowatt-onboard charger found on the European base-model version of the Smart ForTwo, European buyers can opt to upgrade the onboard charger to a 22 kW three-phase fast charger. While our test car didn’t have this option, Mercedes Benz says charging time is then cut to an astonishingly low 60 minutes from empty to full.
Don’t forget to rejoin Nikki and Mark in our first ever episode of ChargedUp — our week-long comprehensive drive review of cars we’ve given you our initial impressions of in QuickCharge –to see if their verdict on the tiny city EV has changed after living with it for a week.
And of course, get ready for our next QuickCharge episode, when we’ll be at the wheel of one of the most important electric cars of all time: the Tesla Model S.
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