Smart ForTwo ED – ChargedUp Review

Following on from the Smart ForTwo ED QuickCharge episode, where Nikki and Mark gave their first impressions having just got behind the wheel, this ChargedUp sums up their views and thoughts after living with the car for a whole week.

So, what did they think? You can find the video below or read on for a quick write up:

It would be kind to say it was a mixed bag. While some parts of the small two-seater EV’s design were welcomed and even applauded (the flappy paddles and analog state of charge metre) there were other – arguably more important – aspects that caused concern.

Nikki Gives Mark a History Lesson on Smart Cars

Nikki Gives Mark a History Lesson on Smart Cars

Chief among these was the cost. At £16,268.34 before a £3,993,34 government grant is applied for the car alone with £55 a month battery rental, the cost doesn’t really seem to match what you get in return. If you wanted to own the car outright, you’d be looking at lay down over £19,000.

The car starts at $25,750 in the US and €16,000 in Europe. Both fairly pricey.

Mark suggested that it would take a lot of love for the Smart brand to drop that kind of money on the car when you could get alternatives with more space, tech and performance for around the same price.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – at least not in the UK and the rest of Europe. Nikki loved that the Smart ForTwo ED can be bought with an optional three-phase on-board charger. Without getting into the technical details, this would allow the EV to be charged from flat to 80% in around 20 minutes.

Mark Concentrates on Driving

Mark Concentrates on Driving

The use of the Type 1 (‘J1772’) charger in the US – and the US’s lack of three-phase power distribution – means that charging tops out at just 3.6kW giving the same car a recharge time in the 6 – 7 hour range.

A winning feature of this car – and one that both Nikki and Mark fell in love with – was the flappy paddles. Removed from their more ‘traditional’ role of gear selection, on the Smart ForTwo ED they control the level of regen applied by the motor from three pre-set levels.

The paddles effectively allow the driver to go from a no-regen ‘I’m going to coast my way to a stop’ floaty feel to max-regen ‘almost one-pedal driving’. These can all be swapped on the fly to maximise range, feel or comfort as the driver wants.

Overall, the Smart ForTwo ED feels like a electric car that Nikki and Mark could ‘live with’. For some people, in specific locations with specific needs it could be the perfect EV. But for most people, most of the time, it just isn’t quite there.

What Do You Think of the Smart ForTwo ED?

What Do You Think of the Smart ForTwo ED?

Marks Out of Ten

Mark: 6 out of 10. Around town it does what you need, however once above 50mph (80kph) it starts to feel ‘buffeted’.

Nikki: 5 out of 10 raising to 6.5 out of 10 with the three-phase charging. Although, it should be pointed out we were unable to test the three-phase charging as our press car didn’t have that option.


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  • MEroller

    Thanks for this outstanding first edition of Charged up! It is in no way biased and to the point, listing pros and cons equally, so anyone who contemplates buying a Smart for2 ED will know what they are in for after watching this epsiode.nnnHowever, all along (also in your Quickcharge take on the for2 ED) I have been slightly puzzled at your remarks of the ED being longer than it’s ICEd twins. ALL current for2 models apart from the ED Brabus are 2695mm long. They are built on the same assembly line, from the same body components, so it is not possible for different-engined for2s to be different lengths. Within normal vehicle length tolerances of course, which can easily be u00b15mm or even more. Only the ED Brabus is stated as being 2727mm long, due to different front and rear “bumpers”. Were you always referring to the Brabus ED being longer?

    • Hi MEroller,nnYou’re quite right. We screwed up. (We’d written down the specs wrong) — but yes, the Brabus ED is longer. Maybe that’s where the confusion came in.nnWe’re really sorry for this one. 🙁

      • MEroller

        No worries! The rest was rather spot-on, I’d say 🙂

    • vdiv

      Measuring a car’s dimensions in millimeters, even if the car is a tiny Smart ForTwo is rather hilarious. Did you know that the distance to the Sun is 149,597,870,700,000 mm? ;)nnnnYeah, that or 1 au (astronomical unit).

      • MEroller

        Well, welcome to the world of engineering, where regardless of the object’s size the mm is the one an only unit that is quite universally understood without having to add the unit to the number ;-)nOn the other hand, I was just quoting the orignal Smart for2 specs…

  • I too am puzzled by the review focussing on fast charging capability. I do not want, nor do I need a fast charger for my Smart ED. The 120V overnight charge is plenty for my daily commute and errands. I routinely fully charge the car mid-week on the off peak electricity rates, and on the weekend do the same thing. Transport Evolved has some strange misconception of the need for fast charging for the Smart, which is a perfect commuter vehicle and is a perfect compliment to a household with an existing gas powered car like mine. More than 75% of North American homes have two cars in the driveway and at least one of them rarely goes over 40 miles in a day.

  • After 6000km of trouble free driving on my Smart ED, I can categorically state that this is the most fun and enjoyable commuting vehicle I have ever owned! The practicality and easy to use (parking, operating) nature of the car has won over my sceptical partner who now takes my Smart ED in the early morning to her gym, even though there is a new Mercedes in the driveway she could alternatively take. When she returns, I take the smart to work, and now take side streets, as the car is such a blast to streak away from a stop sign, that frequent stops is just another excuse to enjoy the trip!

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