2013 Smart ForTwo: Fresh Styling, New Electric Drive Model

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The Smart ForTwo minicar has had a rough ride in the U.S. of late.

After debuting to stupendous sales in 2008, as gas prices soared, its sales have plummeted to just a few thousand a year.

But the little Franco-German two-seater is being lightly refreshed for 2013, under new distribution through its parent company, Mercedes-Benz.

The 2013 Smart ForTwo will have redesigned front and rear fascias (the aprons below the hood and rear hatch) and side sills. In front, the lower grille is now wider, and the badge has moved down from the hood to the center of the grille.

There are no changes to the powertrain of the gasoline models, which stick with the 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine and automated manual transmission.

Electric model: all-new drivetrain

The 2013 Smart Electric Drive model, however, has an all-new electric powertrain.

Its battery pack is now provided by lithium-ion cell maker Evonik (the previous one came from Tesla Motors), remaining in the same under-floor location as the old one.

It also has a more powerful electric motor driving the rear wheels, with a peak power rating of 55kilowatts (74 horsepower) and a sustained rating of 35 kW (47 hp), against the previous version's peak of 30 kW (40 hp) and sustained output of 20 kW (27 hp).

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (European version)

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (European version)

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The 2013 Smart Electric Drive hasn't yet been rated for range by the EPA, but Annette Winkler, the global head of Smart, said that it will cover 145 kilometers (90 miles) or perhaps more.

Electric price 'below $26,000'

While Smart has not yet released pricing for the 2013 Electric Drive model--which will be sold, as well as leased, unlike the previous model--WInkler predicted that it would be "below $26,000."

That would make it the least expensive electric car on the U.S. market, a position now occupied by the 2012 Mitsubishi 'i' electric minicar, priced at $29,125 for the base model. (The 2012 'i', however, has four seats and five doors, against the Smart's two doors and two seats.)

The price for the electric Smart, however, is still roughly twice that of the least expensive gasoline model.

The EPA rates the 2012 Smart ForTwo gasoline models (both the coupe and the cabriolet) at 34 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, for a combined overall rating of 36 mpg.

The 2013 Smart ForTwo gasoline models will arrive at U.S. dealerships in May; the electric version will follow, Smart says, during the fourth quarter of this year.


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Comments (18)
  1. Fourth quarter! that is cool. I can't wait to see the EPA numbers.

  2. You know I never really thought the Smart Car was very smart. I mean why am I going to buy this little car that gets 34 miles to the gallon, when for a little bit more I can have a Prius that gets 50 miles to the gallon and holds more people and more cargo. Now as an electric car, that becomes a different story. It has a good price point, the question is what kind of range and acceleration does it have.

  3. Yeah, I agree. The gas version seems... lacking in appeal. The electric version certainly has promise. Although for people like me with long commutes, it is all about the range that it can cover.

  4. I am all for the Prius...vs the Smart and almost any other hybrid or conventional vehicle but you are not making a fair comparison and not realizing how important good city mpg is in the overall mileage picture.
    1) Perhaps you are smoking with James Davis below...cause you must be high if you think the Prius is only "a little bit more" than Smart car. Even if you compare like models in the base Prius($24K) and higher trim Smart Passion trim($14,700) the price is still bout $10K. The new Prius C is better at like featured trim of $19,900...that's still not a little bit more.
    2) Your mileage numbers are off....put down the pipe, beer, or whatever is getting your mind scrambled. Smart gets 34/38/36 combined n Prius 51/48/50. Not 34 v 50.

  5. 3) Lets compare mpg fairly now. Of course the Prius wins but by how much and in what conditions. Two good sources available to us for more "real world" mpg are the driver mpg estimates on fueleconomy.gov and Consumer Reports testing. I tend to go w/ the latter as more verifiable and more accurate but look at both. OK so user avg mpg on .gov has 43.5 for Smart n 52.5 for Prius. CR tests the Smart at 30/44/39 n the Prius at 32/55/44. Well, interesting numbers to consider...not nearly as a big of a spread as you presumed.

    Mind you, both are very good mpg cars but I would, and have, picked the Prius for its room for 4, hatch back utility, superior efficiency n drivetrain as well as other features such as smart key, back up camera, etc.

  6. There are more comments in this thread
  7. Every time I see a Smart Car my reaction is always....there but for the grace of God go I. If I lived in the middle of Antwerp with a short commute....I might feel differently.
    But $25,000 for a Smart Car? And no, I won't buy the "EV driving experience" argument on this one.

  8. Mark you obviously do not like the Smart from your comments,I wonder why you even bother to remark.Is it to discourage others? Do you find Smart owners intelligence inferior? Are you a commedian? Just curious as to why people find it necessary to deride something they have never experienced and/or seem incapable of comprehending.

  9. My sister bought a Smart car. She and her husband made a round trip of several hundred miles, including some interstate travel at 70+ mph and it still returned, for them, 49 mpg. It consistently gets better than the EPA rated mileage. They have commented that it is difficult to maintain 70+ mph on interstates because of the power required {to overcome the poor aerodynamics (my words here)}. I've driven it and acceleration is best described as modest, and it's still a blast to drive. Dollar for dollar it's a great value for city dwellers who don't feel the need to drive a leviathan automobile to prove how well off they are.

  10. Two seats and a design that makes it look like a clown car...$26,000.00 - get real. Price it under $10,000.00 and you may still have trouble selling it. About the only way the electric version can have good sales is if you can sell it to environmentally friendly state governments, and you know that those creatures do not exist.

  11. Are you high? The governments of green states will buy these Smart EVs in droves if they start at $26K n get over 70 miles per charge. These Smart EVs will be great for parking enforcement officers and other city, county, and state officials that don't need to drive many miles...which is most of them. Remember, most of the green states have financial incentives to purchase EVs that will bring the price down thousands...don't forget the $7,500 fed tax credit either and the 1/3 operating costs of EVs to conventional vehicles.

  12. I didn't consider government use especially meter maids - that's a good Smart Car example. But at $26,000 I doubt you will recover the cost differential of a smart gasser.
    As far as the $7,500, that just shifts the burden burden to the federal taxpayer. Money shuffle is all it is. Your municipal government over pays for a product, your federal tax dollars provide a kickback and you know who covers the nut.

  13. Ditto for you James.. you obviously do not like the Smart from your comments,(clown car)I wonder why you even bother to remark.Is it to discourage others? Do you find Smart owners intelligence inferior? Are you a commedian? Just curious as to why people find it necessary to deride something they have never experienced and/or seem incapable of comprehending.

  14. I've ridden in an electric version and they are fantastic. No shifting. That being said, I currently get 41-50 (yes that is a 50) miles per gallon under ideal driving conditions with my 2009 Smart Passion. Of course, I have a Borla Exhaust System (best thing I ever did. (Other than buy the car) and added a software chip. Great acceleration and nothing but fun to drive until a hit a pothole on California's pathetic highways. (Thanks former Governor Gray Davis.) Anythow, the new electric version should be well worth it given the product.

  15. I told my wife about this article and she said for that price and if the color of the car can be pink she would buy one. I am not for the pink but the price is not too bad. But we shall have to wait to get more details before it would be a contender for my first EV.

  16. $26k is STILL TOO MUCH for this little ungainly impractical car, DUH! Make it $17k and they'll have a hit with the green crowd. People are tapped out of their savings and we are still in a reces....depression.

  17. Johnny I agree its overpriced but the concept is not impractical,on the contrary its totally practical for what it's designed to do.
    Ungainly? no that is your perception compared to the norm again its shape and size is right in line with its function. The Smart is an anomaly in America as its not really needed because of the abundance of space.
    People spontaineously respond to it without considering its reason for being, a case of engaging mouth before engaging brain. A bus could be considered ungainly,impractical,unattractive etc when compared to a beautifully shaped sporty car but if you needed to carry 48 people it suddenly is a great vehicle.

  18. I would like to ask the author about the under $26,000 price. In Europe the Smart Electric drive is indeed priced in the mid 20's but does not include the monthly battery lease of about $85 a month. Did your sources say the retail price included the batteries? I think Smart is not so smart if they do this and the real price of the car before incentives is in the mid thirties.

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