2013 Smart ForTwo Electric DriveEnlarge Photo
You can feel that extra power at pretty much any speed, and where the old model stopped accelerating at 62 mph, the new car will continue to a limited 78 mph. Push the accelerator pedal harder, past a resistant stopper as you would to activate kickdown on a regular auto, and the full 74 hp is available. This summons up quite surprising acceleration from the tiny two-seater.
At 11.5 seconds to 62 mph it's a full two seconds quicker than even the gasoline Smart, and does without those staccato gearshifts. The old Electric Drive is left standing by the new car, such is the difference.
Other aspects of the drive are much the same as before. It still nips around corners like a Smart should, aided by those low-mounted batteries. The steering lacks feel but is fairly accurate, and the ride quality can still jostle you around, but is improved over the regular Smarts.
Range and costs
The old Electric Drive did 84 miles on a charge of its 14 kWh battery pack, and was lease-only.
The new Electric Drive can apparently do 90 miles--varying with use, as you'd expect--and Smart is finally putting the car on sale. In fact, it's set to be the least expensive electric car on sale in the U.S, at $25,750 pre-incentives.
If you're able to make use of those incentives, you might be able to put the Smart on your driveway for little more than its gasoline equivalent--and far less than that of other battery-electric cars like the Mitsubishi i or Nissan Leaf.
The Smart's practicality is still limited by being a Smart--that is, it only has two seats, and a relatively small trunk--but as a vehicle for getting about the city, it's hugely improved.
If the 90-mile range doesn't pose a problem to you, then it's certainly a far better car than the regular gasoline ForTwo--quicker, quieter, smoother and cleaner.
But thanks to the improvements, the third-generation Electric Drive is now a good car on its own merit, too.