Daimler’s Smart lineup has been begging for an electric variant since its inception, due to its small stature and focus on being more “green” than other cars on the road. It took some time, but Smart finally did debut an electric variant and it is now due for an upgrade. Well, after much delay, the redesigned Smart electric drive – yes, it’s all lowercase letters to stay true to the “smart” way – is finally set to hit the streets without hitting the filling station.
With the influx of EVs in the marketplace, can the puny smart fortwo really stand up to the challenge? The fortwo has always been a niche car and adding in the hum of an electric motor in the place of its three-pot gasoline power plant just places it into an even narrower niche.
Only time will truly tell whether this car will gain any traction in the EV market, but we are all set to dive into it and tell you what to expect. We will also let you know if this car is one for the ages or one that you can live without.
Click past the jump to read our full review.
In typical smart fortwo fashion, the exterior of the 2013 fortwo electric drive is very, very small. It borders on looking almost unsafe, but engineers at Daimler have worked hard to make this subcompact ride meet all of the NHTSA’s safety requirements. It is nearly as tall as it is long, giving it a rather awkward outward appearance, which is endearing to some, but downright goofy looking to others.
The exterior of the Smart fortwo electric boasts a slightly larger grille than the 2012 fortwo, with the circular “electric drive” logo in the center. At the base of the bumper is a set of LED driving lights, which provide additional safety in the fog while not putting too much draw on the battery. The Smart fortwo ED is also now offered in every color available on diesel- and gasoline-powered models, and boasts a new crystal white and electric green body color that is only available in the ED model.
At each corner of the 2013 Smart fortwo ED is a 9-spoke alloy rim. As standard, the Smart fortwo comes with a solid roof, but for an additional fee, you can add in a glass roof or even a convertible top.
The rear end of the 2013 Smart fortwo ED has been ever-so-slightly revised. The rear hatch has fewer curves to it, giving the rear end a cleaner finish. In addition to the revised hatch, the rear bumper cover now has a cutout in the center of it, giving it a more stylish appearance.
On the outside, the Smart fortwo ED is not much different than the 2012 models.
On the inside, the Smart fortwo is about the same as any modern car, save for the lack of interior volume. The dashboard is cleanly set up with little clutter, which is a huge deal in the modern era and the constant addition of new buttons to press and knobs to twist. Being simple has become the new trend, unlike the 1990s where it seemed like the more buttons the merrier.
The speedometer and main gauges are properly placed in front of the driver, not in the center of the dashboard like so many cars in this style. The only gauges in the center are the state of charge and the energy gauges.
As with any other 2013 model, the Smart fortwo electric drive features heating and cooling standard. To help keep things comfortable before you get in, you can actually turn on a pre-heating or pre-cooling system via the Internet or a smartphone.
The steering wheel is leather wrapped and boasts a silver outline in the center, in an attempt to give it just a little extra flair without going overboard. The entire interior boasts the same silver accents throughout, but Smart was careful not to overdo it. If you opt for the crystal whit and electric green exterior, you will also get green accents throughout the interior to contrast the black bas color.
Standard on the Smart fortwo ED are power windows, a basic audio system, power steering and a luggage compartment cover. Some optional equipment available on the 2013 Smart fortwo includes a sporty 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and a navigation system.
So you can judge how much power is left, the Smart fortwo also includes a journey information center that shows the battery’s state of charge and remaining range.
Smart has also developed a drive app for the iPhone, so you can use your iPhone as a multimedia trip computer. The iPhone will allow you to take hands-free calls, listen to music via the fortwo’s stereo system, launch internet radio and hear it through the stereo, and you can use the iPhone as a navigation system. Another added bonus is the “Car Finder” which helps you locate your fortwo if you forget where you parked it.
Helping integrate the iPhone into the Smart fortwo ED, Smart has installed an iPhone cradle with a control unit and microphone. In addition to connecting your iPhone to the fortwo, this cradle also charges the iPhone, as needed. The drive app for the Smart fortwo electric drive also allows the iPhone to access the vehicle’s homepage to view its current state of charge and it also displays local charging stations that it can reach on its current charge.
As you can see, Smart has truly put vehicle connectivity and interior technology on the front burner this year.
Motor and Drivetrain
The 2013 Smart fortwo ED comes with a 55 kW magneto-electric motor that is the spawn of the joint venture between Bosch and EM-motive. This motor pumps out 130 Nm (95 pound-feet) of torque, which gets this subcompact EV from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 11.5 seconds, which is rather respectable, considering its purpose. This EV’s top speed is just 125 km/h (77.7 mph), but the Smart fortwo is touted more as an urban vehicle than a speed demon, so that is still an acceptable number.
The 2013 Smart fortwo ED also boasts a new 17.7 kWh lithium-ion battery that allows this compact vehicle to go 145 km (90.1 miles) on a single charge. That number is again good, based on the fact that this vehicle is more of a city dweller than a long distance EV.
This battery has multiple charging options. The slowest option to take seven hours to go from a complete discharge to a full charge and that is via a standard electrical outlet. If you opt for a wall box connected to a standard socket, the charging time decreases to just six hours. The wall box also connects your Smart fortwo to the Internet, so you can view its state of charge online. If you have access to a 400-volt charging station, the Smart fortwo electric drive’s charging time drops all the way down to just one hour.
As for the drivetrain, Smart makes no mention of any changes. This lack of information leads us to assume that the 2013 model year will carryover the single speed forward and reverse transmission from the 2012 model year.
When Can I Get One?
The Smart fortwo electric drive has been available in Europe since 2007, so we all know that this model will continue to be sold there. The newest deal is the fact that the 2013 Smart fortwo ED is heading to the U.S. In both markets, the new fortwo ED is expected to arrive in fall of 2012.
For the most part, EVs are pretty much out of the average American’s price range. The Smart fortwo electric drive actually comes in at a relatively affordable price at €18,910 ($23,862) for the coupe model and €22,000 ($27,761) for the convertible body. In addition to the cost of the car, there is a €65 ($82) per month fee to rent the battery.
The exact U.S. pricing has yet to be released and we assume there will have to be a little markup for the importing and homologation into the U.S. We say it is safe to anticipate a $28,000 price on the coupe model and a $32,000 price tag on the convertible model.
The EV market is swamped these days, but there are really only a handful of competitors for the pint-sized Smart fortwo electric drive.
The closest model to it now that is currently on the market is the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. The i-MiEV holds a base price of $29,125, which is slightly more than we anticipate the Smart fortwo ED coming in at. Where the i-MiEV beats the Smart fortwo is in passenger capacity, as it has four doors and room for four or five adults. Other than that, the i-MiEV is well below the Smart fortwo ED, as the Smart looks better, has a longer range (90 miles vs. 62 miles), and has a lower price.
The Nissan Leaf at $35,200 is an outside competitor, as it is slightly larger and more family oriented than the fortwo. The Leaf beats the fortwo in charging time, as it take four to eight hours on a home charger and as little as 30 minutes on a commercial charger. The Nissan EV also beats out the Smart fortwo in total power, as it boasts an 80 kW electric motor that cranks out 107 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf comes up short on the total range competition, as the fortwo goes 90 miles, whereas the Leaf only goes 73 miles.
In the future, we anticipate seeing the BMW i3, which is supposed to hit the market about the same time as the Smart fortwo ED. The details are still a little scarce on the i3, but it is supposed to boast a 125 kW motor that pumps out a hefty 170 ponies and 184 pound-feet of torque. This will get the i3 to 60 mph in less than eight seconds, while only requiring a charge time to 80 percent capacity of one hour. Supposedly, the i3 also will have a 93-mile range on a single charge.
The i3 looks like the sure winner on paper, but we have yet to see a price and official specs from the EPA. We’ll hold off judgment until then.
The Smart fortwo looks pretty good to us, in an economy and environmental sense. In styling, it’s just as funny looking as any other Smart car on the market. We suggest waiting for the official details to come out about the i3 before rushing out and placing an order on a fortwo ED, as the i3 simply looks better, has a longer range and is faster. If the price difference between the Smart and the BMW is small, it may be worth your while to hold out for the Bimmer.
90 miles on a charge
The new white and green color scheme is neat
Well laid out interior
Still a funny-looking Smart car
Low top speed
Not much changed from 2012
12 June 2012 – this date marks the starting signal for the first real alternative to the usual refuelling stops. With the launch of the new smart fortwo electric drive, in future smart customers can enjoy even more fun at the wheel of an attractively priced vehicle that has the familiar compact dimensions - as a coupé or a cabriolet. The most important feature distinguishing it from its siblings with conventional engines is the fact that it does not produce any emissions on the road. With its 55kW electric motor the smart fortwo electric drive accelerates from 0 - 60 km/h in 4.8 seconds, and with a maximum speed of 125 km/h driving pleasure is also guaranteed on urban motorways. The 17.6 kWh battery enables the urban two-seater to travel approximately 145 kilometres in city traffic without producing any local emissions. The new sale&care model makes opting into electric mobility particularly attractive: it offers customers an opportunity to buy, finance or lease the vehicle at an attractive price and to rent the battery for a monthly fee.
Extensive experience and customer feedback from various electric mobility projects were integrated in the further development of the smart fortwo electric drive. Ever since 1998 the smart has been revolutionising urban mobility like no vehicle before it. Compact, agile, environmentally friendly and stylish – it has evolved from a practical small car to a lifestyle product and has long become a familiar sight on the roads of cities around the world.
From the summer the smart fortwo electric drive will start winning wide-ranging buyers in more than 30 international countries for its innovative and forward-looking drive concept.
Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart, says "The smart fortwo was designed for an electric drive right from the start as our customers to date have already been able to experience for themselves in their daily use of this vehicle. We have taken their feedback and wishes very seriously. The new smart fortwo electric drive represents a completely new dimension of zero-emission driving pleasure at a price that is really attractive."
The new model is fitted with a 55 kW magneto-electric motor - the first product from the EM-motive joint venture founded together with Bosch – ensuring that it is as agile and lively as ever.
With torque of 130 Newton metres it accelerates powerfully from 0 to 60 km/h in 4.8 seconds, and thanks to better acceleration in the higher speed range it can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds as it has much more tractive power than its predecessor.
This makes for speedy driving and overtaking. The battery-electric two-seater smart fortwo now has a higher top speed of 125 km/h, as well. That is putting it on a par with the combustion-engined smart – also on the motorway.
A battery from the joint venture "Deutsche ACCUmotive" with Evonik Industries is fitted in the new smart fortwo electric drive for the first time. With capacity of 17.6 kWh the lithium-ion battery enables 145 kilometres of pollutant-free driving fun. In addition to the higher battery capacity clear improvements have been made to the efficiency of the drive system, resulting in a greater range. When completely empty it takes a maximum of seven hours to fully charge the battery at a household socket or charging station on the electricity systems of most countries i.e. overnight.
Technical data – an overview
Electric motor (type)
Magneto-electric synchronous motor from EM-motive
Continuous output [kW]
Maximum output [kW]
Max. torque electric motor 1 [Nm]
Lithium-ion battery from Deutsche ACCUmotive
Battery capacity [kWh]
Maximum speed [km/h]
Acceleration 0-60 km/h [s]
Acceleration 0-100 km/h [s]
Range [km] (NEDC)
Charging time 0-100 % domestic socket [h]
7 (without wallbox), 6 (with wallbox)
Charging time 0-100 % 400V [h]
Less than 1
Quick charging in less than one hour
For the feasibility of quick charging it is possible to optionally equip the car with a quick-charging function. The 22 kW on-board charger enables a completely empty battery to be fully charged in less than an hour. A power cable is needed for this which is used to connect the vehicle to a public quick-charging station or a "wallbox" at home or work.
smart will offer this in future in cooperation with SPX, one of the world’s leading suppliers of technology solutions in the fields of energy and automotive as a global installation and service partner, and with KEBA, a specialist for innovative E-charging infrastructure and wallboxes. If a customer decides to install a wallbox at home or work the smart Sales department will contact SPX. SPX will examine the local conditions, make an individual offer, and after a purchase decision, arrange for installation of the wallbox from KEBA. The wallbox is standardised and can of course also be used to charge vehicles from other manufacturers, for example if there is a mixed fleet.
There are two different types of wallbox: Basic and Connected. Both variants can be used for the quick charging of a single vehicle, or several vehicles one after the other. For private customers who want to charge up quickly and easily at home, a Basic wallbox is the perfect solution. It provides quick charging up to 22 kW and can be used both indoors and outdoors. The Connected wallbox also provides internet connectivity once linked up to the customer’s web connection.
Furthermore, the Connectivity Plus system is an ideal solution for fleet customers. It enables up to 16 Connected wallboxes to be linked up to the "fleet server". This fleet server then enables several vehicles to be charged at once, all controlled intelligently and automatically. For example, certain vehicles can be given priority or a load limitation can be set. SmartCharging is also possible: economical charging and charging with green electricity (if the utility company provides the relevant data). This is financially advantageous to customers as they always have full control over their charging. The relevant charging cables are of course also available from SPX.
Attractive introduction to electric mobility
The smart fortwo electric drive makes opting into electric mobility very attractive with a new marketing concept. With the sale&care model customers can buy, lease or finance the vehicle at an attractive price and rent the battery. The rental costs include regular maintenance and, if necessary, quick battery replacement. smart also has a solution for all those who want to buy the entire vehicle.
In Germany the price for the vehicle with the sale&care model is €18,910 inc. VAT for the coupé and €22,000 for the cabrio. As well as this there is the standard battery rental charge of €65 including VAT in all sale&care markets. In view of the low operating costs electric driving is therefore a very attractive form of individual mobility.
National promotion programmes in many countries and various mobility benefits such as the use of special lanes or exemption from city congestion charges are further advantages of electric driving. With the attractive sale&care package and the significant technological advancement of the smart fortwo electric drive smart offers its customers affordable driving pleasure in daily use based on the environmentally friendly drive.
smart also has an attractive offer for customers who want to buy or lease the complete vehicle with the battery: including VAT the new smart fortwo electric drive costs €23,680 as a coupé and €26,770 as a cabrio.
Since the International Motor Show in Frankfurt anyone interested has been able to register on www.smart.com with no obligation to receive all the latest news on the new electric smart. In some markets, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK customers have been able to make advance reservations for a vehicle online – and these customers will be among the first owners of the new smart fortwo electric drive. A four-figure number of reservations has already been received – and a five-figure number of people have even registered on the smart website.
Fill up on renewable energies
Electric vehicles cut down greenhouse gases on a sustained basis, especially when they are powered by renewably generated electricity. This is why the company is supplying as much additional energy generated by wind power to the German grid as is needed to run all new electric smarts sold in Germany – thus supporting the ambitious climate targets of the EU. The energy needed for this is supplied by a new wind power plant on the A9 motorway, which Daimler has acquired in order to supply additional power generated from a completely renewable source to the grid on time for the launch of the new electric smart. Within the framework of this initiative Daimler is deliberately not taking up support measures from the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). With nominal output of 2.3 megawatts per year the onshore wind energy plant type Enercon E82 will generate enough green electricity to run the approximately 2,500 smart fortwo electric drives initially sold in Germany. Any power required over and above this could also be covered with electricity from wind power, without EEG funding.
A fresh green and even more colours
With a larger radiator grille featuring the electric drive logo, stylish LED daytime driving lights below the headlamps, wider door sills and several modifications to the rear the new model is much more dynamic than its predecessor. The new E-smart comes in all smart colours and colour combinations that are also available for the diesel and petrol models.
The new colour fresh green is a particularly visible manifestation of electric driving fun. The electric drive design package comprises crystal white bodypanels and white alloy rims, tridion cell and mirror caps painted in electric green and numerous green accents in the interior, which form an attractive contrast to the black seats.
Those looking to give their vehicle an even more exclusive touch can choose from the range of options offered by smart BRABUS tailor made - with an even greater choice of colours and materials.
As to be expected the new smart fortwo electric drive features extensive equipment. A highlight is the fully automatic air conditioning with pollen filter and pre-entry climate control. When it is connected to the power supply the vehicle can be automatically pre-cooled or pre-heated as required for a programmed departure time. A new feature is the possibility to start the pre-entry climate control via the internet or a smartphone at any time. The standard equipment furthermore includes electric windows, a leather steering wheel, leather gear knob, the audio system basic, power steering, 9-spoke alloy wheels and a luggage compartment cover. In addition to the standard solid roof, a glass roof and a cabrio version are available. The trip computer – also a standard feature in the electric smart – shows journey information including the remaining range. And like the predecessor model the two round instruments show the battery state-of-charge and the energy used and recuperated. In addition, the smart fortwo electric drive can be equipped with a navigation system and a 3-spoke leather steering wheel.
Clever app for infotainment with smartphones
smart is the first car brand to develop its own drive app for the iPhone®. Together with the smart kit and cradle for the iPhone®the cult phone becomes a multimedia trip computer that is optimised for the smart fortwo in terms of function and design. The smart drive app for the iPhone® has all the important features needed whilst driving: phone calls via hands-free system, your own extensive music collection, internet radio and a clever navigation system with a special smart touch. There are also smart extras – for example the Car Finder that will guide you back to wherever you parked your car.
The new smart drive app for the iPhone®is simple to operate, for example thanks to extra-large buttons. The new app therefore makes urban mobility even easier and more fun - the declared objective of the smart philosophy.
Two new elements developed by smart make the two-seater car and the iPhone® a perfect team:
The smart cradle for the iPhone ® with control unit and microphone serves as a stylish and functional holder. It charges the iPhone ® and also functions as a hands-free system using the loudspeakers of the smart radio for sound output and automatically muting it when phone calls are made
The smart drive app for the iPhone ® is the world’s first drive app on the market to be developed by a car brand. It combines all the features needed on the road in a single app. All the functions are extremely easy to use thanks to extra-large buttons and extra-large letters
Always know how far you can go: connected services
The smart drive app for the iPhone ® can be supplemented with further functions tailored to the smart fortwo electric drive. However, the current state-of-charge or the SmartCharging charge configuration can also be conveniently controlled and managed via a web portal from a home computer or with any modern smartphone.
The Vehicle Homepage offers every smart fortwo electric drive customer a chance to visualise the range on an interactive map with 3D views.
All the destinations that can be reached with the current battery charge are displayed. The public charging stations within reach can also be seen at a glance. If a desired destination is further away than the available range the Vehicle Homepage can be used to quickly check how long the battery still needs to be charged for to reach it. Among other factors, the depiction of the range considers the topography and the route profile. The intuitive graphic depiction that can be combined with 3D views and satellite images is an attractive feature. Furthermore, the vehicle itself can also become active: information on the charge status and range can be sent by email or Twitter messages for example. The driver is notified as soon as the desired range can be reached with the current charge.
The smart fortwo electric drive can be connected to the internet at home via a standard powerline adapter (Homeplug AV) for SmartCharging. After entering the planned departure time in the vehicle or the web portal the vehicle will be fully charged in a battery-saving and economical way. The smart fortwo electric drive also makes charging at public stations easy. With Plug&Charge the vehicle identifies itself as soon as it is plugged into a compatible charging point and the charging process is settled automatically.
"Electric history at smart"
With the start of the first electrically driven test fleet in 2007 in London smart also took on a pioneering role in the area of electric mobility when 100 smart fortwo electric drives took to the roads of the British capital – with great success.
With the introduction of the second generation in 2009 the smart fortwo electric drive was ready to take to the roads. The electrically driven avant-gardiste from Stuttgart was introduced in 18 markets. The objective was to gather as much experience as possible about how customers use and charge electric vehicles. The huge demand exceeded all expectations. Instead of the planned 1000 vehicles more than 2000 smart fortwo electric drives were produced in Hambach. This means that smart has one of the largest fleets of electrically driven vehicles on the roads worldwide and a trove of customer experience and wishes that have been input in the new smart fortwo electric drive.
A higher top speed and better acceleration at speeds above 60 km/h were right at the top of the customers’ list of priorities. However, contrary to prevailing opinion the range wasn’t the crucial point from the perspective of the test customers. The vast majority of users confirmed the results of surveys which say that people drive approximately 30 to 40 kilometres per day on average in urban areas and they expressed great satisfaction with the range of their smart.