What is it?
The Smart Fortwo and Forfour are city cars, and as their names suggest, the former offers seating for two people, while the latter has seating for four. While both of the current versions offer the small dimensions, tight turning circle and clever packaging that makes them great around town, we've not rated them very highly because neither is as comfortable nor as good to drive as most other cars in this market. The Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo are both better in these respects.
Electric versions of the Smart Fortwo have been around since 2007, with the second-generation model coming in 2009. However, this is the first time that the Mercedes-Benz-owned brand has offered EV versions of the Fortwo Cabiolet and Forfour.
What engines can I choose from?
Both the Fortwo and Forfour Electric Drive come with an 80bhp electric motor (the regular cars can be had with either a 70bhp or 89bhp petrol engine). The Electric Drive models have a claimed range of 99 miles, with their top speeds limited to 81mph. The Fortwo Coupé takes 11.5sec to get to 62mph, with the Forfour taking 12.7sec to cover the same distance.
Charging time is placed at 2.5 hours via a standard charging socket - or six hours via a household socket - but from next year a more powerful three-phase charger will cut that time down to 45 minutes.
Drivers can choose a special 'eco' mode to maximise the car's range. This reduces throttle response, adjusts the maximum speed limit and recovers as much energy as possible through braking. In normal driving, the car uses radar technology to sense the traffic situation, and adjusts the brake recovery for the circumstances.
What equipment does it come with?
Unsurprisingly, the Smart Electric Drive models look virtually identical to the regular Fortwo and Forfour inside. New touches include bespoke gauges to show the battery's charge status, while optional equipment includes a more 'expressive' styling package and a heated steering wheel.
Another new feature is a 'smart control' app for smartphones, which shows most of the car's driving information and can be used to pre-set the car's climate.
How much does it cost?
It's too early to say how much Smart will charge for the Fortwo and Forfour Electric Drive models, but with the government's £4500 electric vehicle grant applied, entry-level prices will start below £20,000. That's a significant premium over the current starting prices of the petrol-powered Fortwo and Forfour, which cost from £11,125 and £11,620 respectively.
Anything else I need to know?
The Fortwo and Forfour are both small vehicles, so in their new forms will compete both with other small EVs like the Renault Twizy, but also with more established electric options like the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and BMW i3.
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