Thread: 2016 smart fortwo Electric Drive
11-10-2015, 09:59 AM #1
2016 smart fortwo Electric Drive
[ED: Congratulations to Kelly for being presented the Jaguar Land Rover Canada Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Automotive Journalist of the Year award in Ajax, Ontario Oct. 29. Hereís an excerpt from the press release: ďJudges GeneviŤve Bonin, Jacques Grenier and Antoine Char, all with extensive journalism and literary backgrounds, admired Taylorís ability to involve the reader directly and completely in all of his stories, with a clear exposition of facts and strong human interest elements. They also admired his tendency to give readers the facts and allow them to make up their own minds in each review without any preconceptions.Ē]
The Smart Fortwo quickly became the next big thing in small when it launched.
And while I wonít say I hated it, I wasnít exactly in love, either.
The way the sequential gearbox was set up meant that if you didnít switch to manual mode and hit your shift points just right, you would lurch forward as the car came out of gear and get pitched back when acceleration resumed.
There was also a certain cheapness to it ó despite the price ó that didnít quite befit parent company Mercedes-Benz. And it didnít feel nearly as nimble as its size would suggest.
So I was very interested to drive the Smart Electric Drive. Itís pretty much the exact same car, but without the gasoline and without the herky-jerky transmission. This one is stepless.
Smart has dramatically updated the gasoline version of the Fortwo with an all-new 2016 model I drove in September in Portland, Ore. But for now, the electric Fortwo remains based on the previous generation.
And itís a blast to drive. The high and almost instant torque of the electric motor makes it very snappy from a stop (0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds).
As well, the handling of the ED seems to be quite a bit improved over the last gasoline model I drove. The transmission is as smooth as its stepless configuration suggests.
But this is an electric, and the big question is how well it will handle the daily commute. Thereís plenty of electricity on board for getting to work and home. Range from full, according to the in-board range meter, is about 100 km. Drive on the highway, and that range goes down dramatically. I drove to to work one day with about 25 kilometres of highway driving and about 60 per cent charge remaining.
At 100 km/h, you can practically see the needle on the battery level gauge dropping.
That trip drained about 40 per cent of the remaining juice, leaving me about 20 per cent (equivalent to about 20 km) for the trip home (about 20 km).
Without question, range anxiety, that dreaded sense you will run out of electricity before you get where youíre going, is real.
Itís palpable, especially since it wasnít until I got to work did I know the block heater outlets are still on in summer. (We were told they were shut off when block heaters arenít needed.)
As the needle fell, I knew I had enough to get to work, but what about home?
Thereís no such thing, yet, as an electric jerry can, and thereís no guarantee that during a trip home at 11 p.m. you will run out of juice near an electrical outlet.
I wasnít looking forward to that phone call, either. (ďHi dear, can you pick me up? What, were you sleeping?Ē)
Fortunately, an eight-hour plug in at work got me back up to 40 per cent and overnight at home finished the charge. The amount the trip home drained indicated I had enough even without a top-up at the paper, but Iíd have been sweating bullets the whole way.
After a week and a bit in the ED, itís clear to me anyone looking for an economical runabout would be well-served by the Fortwo ED. It takes about $1 of electricity to charge, has enough juice to get you to and from work and handle any errands along the way and will be charged and waiting for you when you wake up in the morning.
What it doesnít have is much cargo space. A small grocery trip would be no problem, but youíre pushing it if you try to fit a weekís worth of groceries in the hold. And as far as passengers go, it isnít called the Fortwo for nothing.
Like the gas model, the electric drive module is located under the rear cargo shelf, driving the rear wheels. The battery is in a package under the seating area. Charging takes place through a port in the same location as the fuel filler in the gas version.
With 120 volts, a full charge from empty is 16 hours. Using a 240-volt fast charger cuts that time by a little more than half.
Another benefit to an electric is the service interval: instead of a 3,000-kilometre oil change interval, thereís only a battery check every 20,000 kilometres (or at least once per year) and a desiccant replacement every 40,000 kilometres (or two years).
The 800-pound gorilla in the driverís seat remains the price. The ED hardtop starts at $26,995, and unlike Ontario, Nova Scotia doesnít get an $8,500 rebate.
Smart is currently selling the ED at a $3,000 discount, but still, $23,995 is quite the price for a car that seats only two and has small cargo capacity.
If you want, a cabriolet is $26,990 (including the current $3,000 discount).
If you want to figure out the payback period, or the amount of time it will take for buying the ED to start putting money into your pocket, the calculations are relatively simple.
Letís assume the charging cost is $1. With a range of about 100 km, thatís $1 per 100 kilometres.
Now, letís say youíre looking also at a $17,000 gas car that averages nine litres per 100 km.
Thatís about $10 per 100 km, or a difference of $9. So, $23,995 minus $17,000 is $6,995. That, divided by $9, times 100, equals about 77,000 kilometres.
Of course, the carís 100-kilometre range means thatís as far as you can go between charges, so the Fortwo ED would not be an intercity transport.
At highway speeds, youíre not going to get 100 km of range, either. Part of that 100-km range is lower city speeds, part of it is because youíre recharging a little bit every time you slow down or roll to a stop.
At a steady highway speed, youíre never doing either.
Itís startling how small this car is, too. I stopped next to a bus shelter and the reflection made it perfectly clear: you could put this car into that shelter.
Spend any amount of time driving a conventional car and then switch to the Fortwo: guaranteed, the first few times you close the rear hatch and walk to jump into the driverís seat you will overshoot the door by at least two steps.
More than once I found myself reaching for the side mirror trying to get in the door.
There are a few compromises to save on weight. For instance, the front hood is plastic. Itís a bit of an operation to get into it, which you have to do to top up windshield washer fluid or brake fluid.
And then itís a bit of an operation to put it back in place. Itís not hinged, either. Itís connected with a strap and just hangs loosely when not in place.
Speaking of brake fluid: normal vehicles get their braking assistance from engine vacuum. But if you have no engine, you have no vacuum.
In the Fortwo, electric servos provide the boost. The brakes are effective, but they take a bit of getting accustomed to. If youíve ever driven a car that wasnít equipped with power brakes, you might recognize the pedal feel. Itís heavy.
It takes more pedal pressure to get braking action than most cars.
If you drive a Fortwo ED and a regular car, be prepared: you are going to hammer the brakes the first time you try to stop.
Or at least until you get used to the transition.
2016 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
Engine: 55 kW electric
Power: 74 horsepower
Torque: 96 lb-ft
Battery: 17.6 kWh
Transmission: stepless automatic with built-in bevel gear differential
Brakes: dual-circuit brake system with tandem servo assistance, front discs, rear drums
Suspension: lower wishbone, MacPherson strut, anti-roll bar (front); DeDion axle, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers
Fuel economy (l/100km equivalent): 2.2 combined
Price: $26,995 minus current $3,000 discount
Pros: Fun to drive; super economical; conversation starter
Cons: limited cargo space; 100-kilometre range; conversation starter (sometimes for the wrong reasonsÖ)
Source: Driven: 2016 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive | The Chronicle Herald
11-11-2015, 09:46 AM #3
11-12-2015, 09:51 AM #4
Hello 451 style, it is somewhat surprising to see this version well generation still here but it is an ED.
11-13-2015, 09:31 AM #5
11-16-2015, 10:05 AM #6
11-17-2015, 09:53 AM #7
Quite great news, did not know the previous generation was well still being made in this case for a ED.
11-18-2015, 11:39 AM #8
the previous generation has came a long way and now it is on the road to a ED, awesome.
11-19-2015, 09:38 AM #9
11-20-2015, 09:13 AM #10
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