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.
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.
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.
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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