Outstripped in the stand: e-car smart eq fortwo in the test

The Smart won’t be around for much longer in electric form either. Is it worth to get hold of one of the last models?

(Image: Clemens Gleich)

  • Clemens Gleich

I would like to write here an ode to the smallest vehicle, because I like to sing the quiet song of the sufficiently large car. Unfortunately the last European designed Smart shows the dysfunctionality of the Daimler concept “small car, not so small price”.

Where to start? Best with an apology to the few remaining Smart fans: This car is not bad per se. There will be areas of use where a Smart EQ fortwo is the best possible vehicle. I can’t think of any sitting here in front of the vehicle, but I invite you to send your application spectra by mail or to discuss them in the forum. The problem is not that the car Absolutely would be bad. The problem is that the car relatively feels bad because the competition outside has improved a lot, while the Smart’s powertrain stood still. “Alas”, I think to myself with every fancy renewed LED “would you have put these resources into a fundamental update of the drive”.

The drive

Anyone who drove the previous generations of electrically powered Smarties knows this drive system. A distance-dependent recuperator was added, which is not much help. If you want to use the electric brake by accelerator pedal when driving alone without anyone in front of you, you can only do so by setting it to “Eco” again for each trip presses, because the car switches off the mode at each start again. Initiating recuperation via brake pedal works very roughly. It feels as if the car uses nothing more than the brake light switch to activate brake energy regeneration. No comparison even to the first generation Renault Zoe. In short: the drive is as it was back then, and back then it was already not the most efficient.

Smart EQ fortwo (5 pictures)

The result: surprisingly high consumption for the size of the vehicle. At an autumnal 6° C, the car barely gets below 20 kWh / 100 km in leisurely country road driving, even internally net. According to my measurements, the driver will have to pay a gross amount of 18.9 to 25 kWh per 100 km starting in the fall. Depending on the temperature, losses with charging bricks are up to 20 percent. Other manufacturers manage it with half the power loss at the brick. For Smart drivers, therefore, a wallbox is probably worthwhile, especially with the subsidy starting in November. Around 6° C is also a steep inefficiency ramp. When driving from 9° C (start) to 4° C (end) at a constant speed of about 100 km/h at around 6° C, the consumption jumped from a good 17 kWh to over 20.

This morning I drove almost 20 km at 1 ° C. I measured 28.2 kWh gross consumption. The dashboard gave me an “Eco-Score” for this from 90 percent. Probably not entirely wrong, because I actually drove round and economical, in a way where I ran the Zoe (test) at optimal 17 ° C to under 11 kWh net. The Smart has simply never been efficient, by the way, even with the internal combustion engines. Consumption and charging losses rise steeply in cold conditions. For the electric car this means, at least in the winter months, that you often don’t get 100 km and still drive more expensively than with a four-seater small car. At milder temperatures, the Smart runs with about 15 kWh / 100 km internal display, which nevertheless becomes almost 19 kWh at the charging brick.

The cabin

Since most journeys are made alone and lightly packed, the original idea behind the Smart was to design the cabin to be crisply small. A good idea. But why a cabin that is optimized for people without large luggage hardly has any well thought-out storage compartments is something that only Daimler understands. Under the radio you can choose whether there is the smartphone or the cup holder. The USB plug is located behind the handbrake lever, where there is no storage space. There are a few nets in the doors and footwells. The glove compartment is so small and occupied by a carsharing card reader that practically nothing fits in it. But there is a pretty ring LED around the cup holder. Who makes such decisions?

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