ElectraGirl: Choosing the Right Small EV

Saturday 24th January 2015

I am in a dilemma this week… There’s only one week left to decide on what to replace our 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with. We think we have narrowed it down to three possible EV’s – the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the 2015 VW e-Golf and the 2015 Smart ED. All very different EV’s but which one will suit us the best?

2015 VW E-Golf, 2015 Smart ED, 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV HeaderThe main reason for this purchase is to provide an EV for our son to use to get himself to classes, and to work, and to see friends. He’ll never be doing more than 50 miles in a round trip. So we are not looking for a long distance EV, one that has an 70 – 90 mile range would be perfect.

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

My son really likes the i-MiEV so, that would be his first choice. Currently though the i-MiEV seems hard to come by and doesn’t have that great lease deal we got on ours, which is very unfortunate. We can’t go and see the updated 2014 version as there aren’t any within range, so all we have to go on are the pictures on the website. To buy one we’d be looking at a 0% finance deal in the region of $380 per month over 5 years or $189 per month for a 3 year lease with almost $4,000 due at signing. That seems a lot for what you get. Yes, we will now be getting TWO heated seats and an updated interior with a leather steering wheel. CHAdeMO is standard on the i-MiEV and we do get to pre-condition, both of these are quite important. But it is still quite a basic car with a range of 50 – 90 miles.

The interior of the 2015 VW e-Golf is European EV Golfness

The interior of the 2015 VW e-Golf is European EV Golfness

The 2015 VW e-Golf is more ‘regular car like’ and looks very much like its petrol version. Do I want a car that doesn’t stand out from the crowd? I have kind of got use to the looks and stares because my EV’s are quirky looking – in a good way. It is very VW and you can feel that VW quality. It does have CCS Fast Charging and pre-conditioning plus, with the recent announcement of a fast charging network from VW/BMW and ChargePoint it could really go the distance. It has about 80 – 90 miles of range and comes standard with navigation and a rearview camera. Its one downside seems to be the lack of regenerative breaking, quite a biggie for me. The e-Golf would cost us about $350 per month on a 36 month lease with a chunky downpayment.

2015 SmartED

2015 SmartED

2015 Smart ED – It is small, it only has two seats, so no family trips in that. It does have pre-conditioning. But it doesn’t, however, have fast charging, which is a slight negative in my opinion. It has roughly 68 miles of range, but more like 76 if you are just pootling around town, and I would think you could get more than that, especially in the summer. It’s small – again, but is it too small? It would cost us around $120 per month on a 36 month lease with $2,250 due at signing. The Smart ED is more fun to drive than the i-MiEV, perhaps heading more in the MINI E direction – but not quite.

We did think about the Mercedes B class EV but, I think that’s just too big for our needs, we don’t need that kind of space.

A long line of Fiat 500E's in California

A long line of Fiat 500E’s in California January 2014

Now, if the Fiat 500e was available on the East Coast then that would be the next EV. It doesn’t look like that is going to happen though. I have to say I am very disappointed with Fiat for not selling anywhere but California and Oregon.

Decisions, decisions, decisions – what will be Electric Car number 7?

Does anyone have any ideas on what you think I should get next?


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  • Dennis Pascual

    Chevy Spark EV is making it to MD soon. An announcement was made this past week. Not quite a Fiat 500e… But, quite a zippy little thing.

    • Airton Azevedo

      I was also going to recommend the Spark EV, just not sure what the lease deal will look like.

      • Dennis Pascual

        Great minds think alike Airton!

    • Electra Girl

      The Spark isn’t available here at the moment, only California and Oregon.

  • MEroller

    What about a Kia Soul EV? Is it available in your quarters? It sure looks unusual, in any case :-)nOf the three on your list, despite the unremarkable looks, the E-Golf will probably fit the bill best. Of course it has regen, even adjustable via the gear-shift lever (you can tap it side to side up and down 7 steps of regen). And it can take up to 4 passengers on board, which is something your son might like to have ride along with him from time to time. Thus it greatly helps evangelize his peers into electric drive. nAs is the case with all things VW does nowadays the E-Golf is incredibly well engineered and built, and they really took their time with this one…

    • Electra Girl

      The Kia isn’t available here. I need a re-look at the e-Golf to test out the regen. Now, if only it was’t going to snow so much this week!

  • My Smart ED has been every bit the fun to drive city car I bought more than a year ago. In that time, I’ve looked at many other EV’s, and haven’t seen anything that suits my daily commute more. Plus, with only two seats, it will keep my soon to be driving teenager from filling the car with friends and road trippin’. Just saying. 😉

    • Electra Girl

      What kind of range have you seen over the year?

      • I’ve blogged my experiences with the car, lots of different and varied thoughts. Here is a link to my ranger experiences:nnhttp://mysmartelectricdrive.blogspot.ca/2014/03/range-experiences.htmlnnnnNote, because I have a short <50km daily range requirement, I effectively drive with the absolute least care for efficiency. nnnIf I drove the same way in a gas car, I'd get 18L/100km. So, you can treat my range experiences as the absolute worst case. 😉

  • BenBrownEA

    I’m trying hard not to be biased, but I think IF you can get your son a 2015 i-miev with navigation AND $280 per month I’d say go for it! …unless you can take a $7500.00 tax credit. Regarding the lease deal the i-miev downpayment needs to be much much lower. I’d even suggest a petition to your dealer if that would make a difference. Mitsu needs to come up to the plate because people really do want to see them do better by their pure bev’s.

  • Richard Glover

    interesting, my son thinks the i-miev is hideous, whereas I think its fun. I drive a Leaf, have you ruled that out?

    • BenBrownEA

      re: the i-miev as hideous… I consider it strange the number of people who love the volkswagen beetle… or the number of people who can’t tell the difference between an outline drawing of a BMW i3 and a Th!nk Ox. Shocking really, the value we ascribe to an exterior when we are told a maker. But the real kicker comes, especially for the young, when their peer group or idols say “X” is cool.

    • Electra Girl

      It seems people either like or dislike the i-MiEV, but that’s okay as not every car appeals to everyone and it’s good to have a variety of Electric Cars out there to choose from. We have looked at the LEAF but it isn’t for us.

  • Tennesseejoule

    With all those cheap i-miev leases expiring there are a lot of low mileage used i-miev’s available for sale. The problem is when they hit the lot they’re a pretty hard sell for the typical used car buyer, the ones that don’t “get it” the “EV thing” I mean. The typical salesman doesn’t “get it” either so there are some phenomenal deals available in the used car market. We bought our i-miev used about 8 months ago. “Evie” as we call her, only had 8800 miles on her and had seen 0, Zero, None, Nada interest in about 10 months on the lot! The dealership wanted $15,000 for her originally, but I think they realized that since we were the only interested nibble they’ed had, they better jump when we made our offer. We stole her for $10,500 + tax. Nothing down and $191 a month for 6 years. And of course she still had the remaining factory warranty. Sadly, since our purchase, with the lower gas prices and the increase in pre-owned i-mievs, I’ve seen even better deals on the internet as of late. Of course, If you were to go the used car route you might have to deal with a distant dealer. But you’ve already owned one, so you know what your’re getting, no need for a test drive. Most dealers will work with you to send additional pictures for your inspection or to guarantee your satisfaction and most can ship the car to you for $350-$500. The website I prefer is cargurus.com, but there are several other websites.