Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Review | Ultimate Guide

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Review

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Changes

One could ask what could they possibly add to this little car over its 6 model years. You may be surprised to know it went through very few significant changes. However, the few changes it went through have made quite a difference when you get to the newest models. 

Below are each model years and each change that occurred:

  • 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (ALL NEW)
  • 2014 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (NO CHANGES FOR THIS YEAR)
  • 2015 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (NO CHANGES FOR THIS YEAR)
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (NO CHANGES FOR THIS YEAR)
  • 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (REFRESHED EXTERIOR/INTERIOR, FASTER CHARGING TIME ON LEVEL 2)
  • 2018 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (BACKUP CAMERA NOW COMES STANDARD)

Buying a Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

To begin with, the Smart Fortwo has been known to be one of the cheapest (and smallest) cars you can buy brand new. When it comes to the electric variant, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a look at the MSRP price for the first year model (2013) Electric Drive. Brand new, you were looking at roughly $25,750 USD for the base model (before any kind of incentives).

Lets fast-forward 6 years to 2019 and see what you can get them for…
$4,000-$7,000 USD!!

Talk about BIG depreciation.

While you aren’t getting a lot of choices when shopping specifically the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, the BEST deal you can get right now is for the 2015 model years. They are on-par with the older models, yet all of them are the same with essentially no changes.

If you want all the NEW changes such as faster charging and better looks (subjective), there’s PLENTY of 2018 models for sale (according to Cars.com).

New Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Prices:

2013: $25,750-$28,750

2014: $25,750-$28,750

2015: $25,750-$28,750

2016: $25,750-$28,750

2017: $24,550-$28,750

2018: $24,550-$28,750

Used Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Prices:

2013: $4,000-$7,000

2014: $5,000-$8,000

2015: $5,000-$8,000

2016: $7,000-$9,000

2017: $12,000-$16,000

2018: $15,000-$19,000

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive 2013-2015
1st Gen Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive 2017-2018
2nd Gen Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Specs

  • Years in Production: 2013-2018
  • Trim Levels: Passion and Prime
  • Battery Capacity: 17.6kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Top Speed: 81 mph
  • 0-60 mpg: 11.1 seconds
  • Electric Range: 58-68 miles (EPA)
  • Level 1 Charging Times: 2013-2018 ( 13.0 hrs)
  • Level 2 Charging Times: 2013-2016 (6.0 hrs) and 2017-2018 (3.0 hrs)
  • Fast Charging Type: none

Why the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive?

Lets be honest… not just “anyone” will buy one of these funky little cars. They may be OK in Europe and a few other parts of the world, but in North America… there’s just something about the driving culture and terrain which makes it a bit difficult to drive one of these practically.

That something is FAST speed limits (on average) and a strong love for BIG vehicles.

Putting that aside, one thing must be made clear about the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive… it’s NOT meant to be a long distance commuter. What it IS mean to be is a “around-town” cruiser, the type of car you and your friend or significant other will hop-in and just go on a night out. The two seats, fairly small trunk, and limited range say it ALL.

“But the car is rated for only 58 miles, what if I have A LOT of thing to do?”

Don’t worry, electric cars are DIFFERENT when driving at slow speeds in that, they use LESS energy to get around. Those 58 miles will most likely be anywhere between 65-85 miles when being conscious of your driving habit.

Ask yourself this question: “will I drive over 50 miles in a single day, on average?”

The answer will usually be NO, but if you DO… consider downloading the PlugShare app to find the nearest Level 2 chargers. If you park your car somewhere and go off doing some kind of task, might as well let the car charge, right?

The last reason why this car is worth getting, is the safety. You may be thinking due to its size, it will disintegrate into a trillion fragments.

NOT SO.

This video here does it more justice, but to sum it up, it’s more safe than many bigger automobiles.

advantages of the smart fortwo electric drive

Things to LIKE about the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

While the car has two body styles from 2013 to 2018, it stayed mostly the same in almost all aspects. Having spent a few weeks with each generation of the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, it’s EASY to tell the differences and the refined areas where they put some serious work into. 

Below, I’d like to outline the things to LOVE about this tiny electric car. Follow along:

  1. For those who buy this car, they will either love or hate the size. While from the outside it looks like a circus clown car, sitting inside will prove to be very roomy. They should be no issues for anyone who is 6′ feet or less in height.
  2. Speaking of the size, at just over 106″ inches long from front to back… that is 63.5″ inches shorter than a brand new Volkswagen Golf. As you probably already guessed, parking is a breeze.
  3. It’s spacious, easy to park, and also very practical for doing basic tasks. The trunk will give you a fair amount of space, enough for a small to medium sized grocery list.
  4. Not many two door cars (except for the Fiat 500) can give you a retractable roof. You won’t need to remove the roof manually and then drive, instead it opens and closes by a switch of a button. *Cruise with a bit more wind in your face!
  5. I was rather disappointed when I learned that the first generation Smart Fortwo EV took anywhere between 6-7 hours to charge to 100%. While its not a big deal when charging at home, if you want that 2.5 hour charging to 100%… the second generation Smart Fortwo EV is EXACTLY what you need. While it may be priced a bit more, you do get added practically with its faster charging rate.
  6. As I have stated above multiple times, the PRICE you pay is hard to beat. If you hunt for the right deal, you can get one for less than $5,000 USD (with less than 50,000 miles).
  7. Upgraded interior on the 2nd generation model. Looking at the interior of the 1st gen and the 2nd gen, you’ll clearly see Smart has QUICKLY caught up to the competition in order to make the car look not only more stylish, but also like you are getting MORE for your money. *The new entertainment system and the colored LCD screen inside the speedometer is what most are looking for when buying a vehicle from 2017 and 2018.
  8. I bet you didn’t know the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is rear-wheel drive. It means you can have LOADS of fun in loose gravel road, ice, snow and other loose surface.
cons of Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Things NOT TO LIKE about the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Since I’ve highlighted the things you may LIKE about this car, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. These are subjective but in all honesty, may bug many others who get a chance to drive this car on a daily basis.

Here’s a complete list:

  1. When take this car over speed bumps, it’s on the stiff side. Its short wheelbase and small wheels make you feel every bump. Even those small pot holes you may occasionally go over will feel like your car just drove through a crater (exaggeration).
  2. The lack of fast charging is a real limiting factor, especially for the first generation. While it may be unreasonable to want 440v charging from such a small sized battery pack, but even at 220v… it would of been nice to get the 7kW from t he start to reduce the charging time to less than 3 hours. Just that upgrade alone would make the 1st-Gen Smart Fortwo Electric Drive a more attractive proposition.
  3. Once below 10 miles to empty, the car no longer shows you the remaining range. This is true in both 1st and 2nd generation Smart Fortwo EV. The only saving grace this car has is the battery % gauge.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive's Closest Competitors

Lets go back to 2013-2018 and see the closest competing cars which were sold as EV’s with identical price and specs:

2014-2017 Mitsubishi iMIEV

Mitsubishi iMIEV

One of the most popular budget electric cars in the world, find out how the iMIEV stacks up:

  • Battery Capacity: 16kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 62 miles 
  • Charge Times: 14 hrs @ 110-120v and 7 hrs @ 220-240v and 0.50 hrs @ 440v
  • Used Values: $4,500-$7,500
  • Drivetrain: RWD

2013-2018 Fiat 500e (ELECTRIC)

Fiat 500e

This compliance car is rather impressive. Find out how the Fiat 500e stacks up:

  • Battery Capacity: 24kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 84 miles
  • Charge Times: 24 hrs @ 110-120v and 4 hrs @ 220-240v
  • Used Values: $7,000-$14,000
  • Drivetrain: FWD

2014-2016 Chevrolet Spark EV

Chevy Spark EV Compared

The Spark EV is the hidden gem of the EV world. Find out how this tiny car stacks up:

  • Battery Capacity: 19-21kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 82 miles
  • Charge Times: 20 hrs @ 110-120v and 7 hrs @ 220-240v and 0.50 hrs @ 440v
  • Used Values: $8,000-$12,000
  • Drivetrain: FWD

2013-2017 Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

Much like the Fiat, this compliance car is worth its weight in gold. See how it stacks up:

  • Battery Capacity: 23-33.5kW
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Electric Range: 70-100 miles 
  • Charge Times: 20-33 hrs @ 110-120v and 3.5 hrs @ 220-240v and 0.50 hrs @ 440v
  • Used Values: $8,000-$16,000
  • Drivetrain: FWD

To Sum It Up

If you made it this far, I congratulate you. Now you know what you NEED to know about the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. Based on the information you saw earlier, if you bought this car brand new…. you’d be paying a slightly high (but not too high) price tag. Depreciation has done some real magic with the 1st generation, so grabbing one from 3-6 years ago will be be an excellent bargain.

Before we close off this guide… lets summarize what we talked about earlier in this guide.

Why it may be GOOD for you:

  • Small and great for parking
  • Electric range makes it excellent for around town cruising
  • Roomy and specious inside, even for people who are 6′ feet tall
  • Trunk space is good for most grocery shopping lists

Why it may be BAD for you:

  • Limited charging speed for the 1st generation may reduce the convenience of doing frequent trips
  • Suspension may be stiff for some, especially over speed bumps or pot holes
  • The overall looks might be a turn-off

And there you have it, thank you for reading this guide. If you found it useful, please consider sharing it with others below. The more we can spread the word about electric vehicles, the more people can be aware and start adopting this new way of transportation.

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