Production model inspired by 2017’s Vision EQ Fortwo Concept

Mercedes-Benz’s eye toward the future boldly saw a fully electric, fully autonomous concept car debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show. Hailing from its Smart division, the concept took cues from the production Smart ForTwo and injected predictions of what the future might hold. Less than a year later, the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show will be the launch pad for a production version of the car. It’s called the Smart ForTwo EQ and its ramifications to big city car sharing could be felt for centuries to come.

Smart is set to debut the car on March 6 at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. We’ll know much more when the time comes, but until then, let’s look at what we can expect.

Continue reading for more information.

Smart ForTwo EQ Exterior

While the Smart Vision EQ Concept had a futuristic and bubbly design, the production ForTwo EQ is identical to the regular model. Actually, it’s identical to the ForTwo Electric Drive it replaces. Nothing really changed design-wise, with the "new" model sporting the same features seen on the third-gen ForTwo launched in 2015, the same sporty bumper and even the same wheels. Smart only changed the badges. Up front, the "Electric Drive" lettering above the grille was replaced with a small "smart EQ fortwo" badge on the radiator mesh. The same badge is visible on the tailgate around back.

Okay, this isn’t necessarily bad from a design point of view. The current Smart is quite the looker and it’s still fresh. But I wasn’t expecting Mercedes-Benz to keep the exact same exterior with the new badge.

There is something relatively new though. The EQ ForTwo will be launched with a special Nightsky Edition that includes a few black-painted elements. These include the tridion safety cell and radiator grille, the front spoiler, the side skirts, and the roof edge spoiler. In addition, it gets Pacific Blue accents on the front splitter, wheels, side skirts, mirror caps, and diffuser-like element around back. Smart offered something similar on the Electric Drive, which had green accents, so it’s not entirely new.

Smart ForTwo EQ Interior

As you might have already guessed, the interior of the EQ ForTwo has nothing to do with the concept car and its identical to the ForTwo Electric Drive. It’s just as modern and stylish as the regular ForTwo but with a few specific features. One of them is the additional display in the instrument cluster for the power meter and the battery status display. Then there’s the Smart EQ Control App that replaces the previews Smart Control app, which enables the driver to access certain features via a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

Tbe new Smart EQ control app combines numerous items of car-related information, such as the current charge level, the control of the pre-entry climate control and charge management, and displays the corresponding information in personalized form.

Another new feature is the 22 kW on‑board charger with fast charging function, which permits three-phase charging at public charging stations or at a wallbox. The high-voltage battery is charged from 10 to 80 percent in under 40 minutes, so it makes living with an electric car much easier. Smart doesn’t provide additional information, but it said that the on-board charger will be available from May 2018 and will cost €840 as an option.

The Nightsky Edition gets a few extra features as well, with the most visible being the Pacific Blue details on the instrument cluster hood, the A/C vents, and the floor mats, which also have blue "nightsky" lettering. Smart also offers a Brabus Interior Style package with bespoke gearshift and handbrake levels, Brabus door sills, and sports pedals. The Comfort package comes standard too, adding a height adjustable driver’s seat, electrically adjustable mirrors, and an adjustable steering column. There’s also a lockable glove compartment.

Smart ForTwo EQ Drivetrain

Smart had nothing to say about the drivetrain of the EQ ForTwo. It may have something to do with the fact that it won’t go into production until later this year, but it’s still somewhat awkward that the Germans are keeping the details in the vault.

I’m tempted to say that the city car will get the drivetrain in the Vision EQ ForTwo concept, with uses a 30-kWh lithium-ion battery. If this happens, the EQ ForTwo should provide more power and range compared to the existing ForTwo Electric Drive, which has a 17.2-kWh battery. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Electric Drive’s drivetrain carry over to the EQ ForTwo.

The electric motor pumps out 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque in this configuration. It might not sound like much compared to other EVs on the market, but it’s pretty good given the size of the car. Not to mention that its the second most-powerful Smart drivetrain, being surpassed only by the 90-horsepower, 0.9-liter gasoline version. It’s also the torquiest ForTwo in the current lineup.

Charging from 0 to 60 mph doesn’t happen too fast at more than 10 seconds, while top speed is limited to 81 mph in order to maximize range. Speaking of which, the Electric Drive’s range is rated at 99 on a single charge. Should Smart use a bigger battery, expect it to jump beyond the 100-mile mark.

But truth be told, the EQ ForTwo doesn’t need the range of the Chevrolet Bolt. Designed for short trips in the city, its 99-mile range should work just fine given there are a few charging stations available. Also, Smart is actually aiming to establish the EQ ForTwo as a ride-sharing and rental vehicle through its "ready to" mobility program.

In addition to the Smart "ready to share" private car sharing function, this new service strategy already includes the "ready to rent" hire concept, the "ready to drop" and "ready to drop+" in-car delivery services, as well as the"ready to park+" parking space service.

Smart ForTwo EQ Prices

European pricing for the EQ ForTwo starts from €28,255 for the coupe model and from €31,515 for the cabriolet version. The on-board charger costs an additional €840, while the "ready to" package costs €199. The Cool & Audi bundle adds another €100 if you buy it in conjunction with the latter. Add all of the above and the EQ ForTwo coupe retails from €29,394. Pricing for the U.S. market is not yet available.

Smart ForTwo EQ Competition

Chevrolet Bolt

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Chevrolet has turned theory into reality with the Bolt. The Bolt is an all-electric city car with a usable range of 238 miles on a single change of its 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Better yet, the car can carry five people and their stuff thanks to its hatchback design. A glass cockpit has a handsome 10.2-inch infotainment system and a 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster as standard equipment. Techie features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

Of course, the Bolt does not drive itself and takes up more real estate to park. Smart should be commended for shooting for the stars, but the Chevy Bolt is certainly respectable for actually delivering an affordable city car with a descent range. The Bolts actual downfall is its charge times. On a standard 110-volt outlet, the car needs upwards of 30 hours! A Level 2 charger with 240 volts drops the time to 10 hours. General Motors is building a nationwide charging network much like Tesla’s Supercharger system.

As for price, the 2018 Chevy Bolt starts at $37,495 for the LT trim, while the up-level Premier starts at $42,780 – both before any tax incentives or rebates. That’s a comparable price to the new Tesla Model 3, though Bolts are far easier to find and purchase at this point.

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.

BMW i3

2018 BMW i3 Exterior High Resolution
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As practical as the Chevy Bolt is, the BMW i3 is a bit more fanciful and whimsical with a dash of new-age automotive technology sprinkled in. The car is built using carbon fiber and high-strength steel to keep weight down, it used rather skinny tires (that are slightly wider for 2018) and is small enough to park anywhere a Chevy Bolt could fit. The interior is a swanky place with a Zen-inspired feel. Wood and metal accents counter the interior’s base black color.

The i3 comes in two versions: the fully electric i3 and the range extender with the gasoline three-cylinder. Technically speaking, the range extender gives the car an limited range with typical stops at a gas station, but the all-electric i3 is both cheaper and more in line with the Bolt and Smart ForTwo EQ. It offers 114 miles of range on a charge and only takes 30 minutes to recharge up to 80 percent on a Level 3 DC 50-kW charger. On a Level 2 charger, the i3 will recharge roughly 26 miles per every hour its plugged in. The standard 110-volt outlet will charge it three to four miles every hour.

Pricing for the 2018 BMW i3 starts at $44,450. Opting for the range extender model pushed the base price to $48,300. BMW also offs an i3s model with a bit more power. It starts at $47,650 and $51,500 for the range extender.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

Conclusion

Well, the EQ ForTwo is somewhat disappointing, especially if we factor in the concept car that announced Smart’s inclusion in Mercedes’ new family of EQ-badged all-electric cars. I won’t lie, I expected a brand-new model with a more outlandish design and it’s a bit annoying to see that the company’s first production model to wear the EQ badge is actually already a couple of years old. On the other hand, it makes sense for Smart to keep selling the current model, which is still fresh, with a new badge for a few more years. But we still need to find out more about the drivetrain in order to draw a proper conclusion. But regardless of that, the Smart EQ ForTwo has the potential to greatly change the landscape of automotive usage and ownership. It’s a hard nut to crack, but the new "ready to" program and the upcoming over-the-air updates should make a difference.

  • Leave it
    • * No drivetrain information yet
    • * Room for only two
    • * A bit expensive

References

2018 Smart ForTwo EQ Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2017 Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept.

2015 Smart Fortwo Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Smart ForTwo.

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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

Press release

The battery-electric models from smart are the first series-produced vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz Cars EQ family. And smart is simplifying access to electric mobility: the new smart EQ control app is the digital extension of the smart EQ fortwo (combined power consumption: 13.0 – 12.9 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km), smart EQ fortwo cabrio (combined power consumption: 13.1 – 13.0 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km) and smart EQ forfour (combined power consumption: 13.2 – 13.1 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km). This app combines numerous items of car-related information, such as the current charge level, the control of vehicle functions such as pre-entry climate control and charge management, and displays the corresponding information in personalised form. Another new feature is the 22 kW on‑board charger with fast charging function.

"smart is electric, innovative, intelligent and totally unique, or in three words each: ’smart EQ fortwo’ and ’smart EQ forfour’," says CEO of smart Dr. Annette Winkler. "With the smart EQ fortwo/forfour, we are putting the first products from the Mercedes-Benz Cars EQ family on urban roads and showing how much fun electric mobility can be."

The beginning of the smart EQ era will be celebrated with the special models smart EQ fortwo nightsky edition, smart EQ fortwo cabrio nightsky edition and smart EQ forfour nightsky edition. Defining features of the vehicles in black paintwork are accent trim parts in the signature blue colour of the EQ technology and product brand.

smart EQ control app: The perfect digital companion

The new smart EQ control app, which will probably be available from mid-2018, is simple, straightforward and entertaining in typical smart style. With the personalised app, customers can always keep their eye on the current status of their vehicle and control the pre-entry climate control from their smartphone. In addition, intelligent push notifications inform the driver about important events around their electric smart. The built-in charging service now also makes it even easier to find the nearest charging station and to make the payment.

New 22 kW on-board charger with fast charging function

Zero-emissions driving is also made easier by the new 22 kW fast charger. This on-board charger permits three-phase charging at public charging stations or at a wallbox; the high-voltage battery is charged from 10 to 80 percent in under 40 minutes. It will be available from May and will cost 840 euros as an option[1].

Official launch of smart "ready to share"

Following successful beta testing in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Munich and Frankfurt, smart is now officially launching private car sharing by app. The "ready to" package, which is required as hardware for the service, is now optionally available for the smart fortwo and smart forfour in combination with combustion engine and electric drive in Germany, Italy and France. The first smart vehicles to be fitted with this equipment will reach the showrooms in June. smart has drawn on the feedback from the community in its further development of smart "ready to" and will continue to do so for future updates.

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