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On sale in the UK: 2012
Engine: 30 kW magneto-electric motor powered by 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery, 27bhp, 89lb ft of torque from 0rpm
Transmission: Single gear ratio, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 0-37mph in 6.5 sec, 62mph (limited), 84 mile maximum range, full recharge in 8 hours, 80% recharge in 3 hours
How heavy / made of? 890kg
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 2695/1559/1542
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 3 out of 53


Rated 4 out of 54


Rated 3 out of 53

Feelgood factor

Rated 5 out of 55

Readers' rating

Rated 2.5 out of 52.5

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

First Drives

24 September 2010 13:03

As mentioned at the close of my recent Sark-astic experience (see CAR Magazine, August 2010), there’s nothing quite like a drastic downturn in fortune to promote radical re-evaluation.

In the context of my Smart Fortwo Electric Drive on Guernsey, then, I found myself rather less preoccupied with the island’s performance parity inducing blanket 35mph speed limit than the fact that I’d just spent 24 hours being hauled about by a fanatically flatulent horse. After which the comfortable, well equipped and, above all, roofed-in electric Smart Fortwo instantly became, to paraphrase the entirely ghastly Paris Hilton, ‘like soooo totally my New Best Friend yah’.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive: does it perform?

In truth, I’d have driven the battery powered Smart in England too. But even the relatively handsome quoted range of 83 miles afforded by its pricey lithium-ion battery pack wouldn’t have got me from home to the ferry without a minimum three-hour stop for an 80% recharge. And though pulling up outside the house of a complete stranger to ask for a cup of tea whilst surreptitiously feeding an extension flex through the kitchen window may yet become commonplace, I couldn’t quite conjure the courage at the time and met the greenest Smart yet at the ferry terminal.

With only bile-green go-slower stripes and a change of crab-eye dash top dial use to battery indicator and ammeter giving the game away, the electric Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is actually a kinder steer than its conventional sibling; a single gear ratio replacing the lunge-matic standard auto that’s never been entirely sorted.

Naturally, it’s deafeningly quiet to boot, though not entirely silent thanks to the sounds of a very, very small jet aircraft taxiing about under the loadspace floor.

Is it quick enough?

The go-slower gibe isn't entirely genuine, since electric motors develop maximum torque from 0rpm and this thing leaves the line like a stabbed rat, thereafter smearing slightly more languidly to 37mph in a quoted 6.5 seconds and on to a governed 62mph. Only thing is, such performance requires the use of a kickdown function which boosts maximum power from 20 to 30 kW for up to two minutes, sending the power reserve meter into a rate of decline on a par with pushing an anvil off a cliff.

More judicious use of the throttle does, however, suggest the electric Smart will happily fulfil the daily needs of most urbanites without recourse to the National Grid. So, if Smart can get the price right when the UK’s 100-car limited lease trial is dusted, arguments against will prove hard to come by.


Indeed, the only thing wrong with the electric Smart is that although the car is tiny, the door itself is so huge you still need plenty of space to get in and out. Perhaps in electrified guise, the Smart Fortwo has come of age.


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Average rating: Rated 2.5 out of 52.5 (29 votes)

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Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review


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robinstp says

RE: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review

Another pollution special - who much footprinted elephants to make the batteries and dispose of them. Pointless - allready out of date - no use to anyone except my 4 year old to learn on - and at that price I could buy her a top of the line go-kart and expensive tuition..hmmmm not a bad idea actually. I wasnt going to write this but as it came up - we took Oriella (4yrs and 7 months) to the wonderful Fairground/Entertainment park here in St. P last Saturday - weather was the last summer day 20deg plus. We thought she might like to try the electric cars which go round a snakey 500m track. She was the youngest - she was for the first time in her little life alone - she had never been in such a thing before. I showed her the loud pedal (WELL imagination she has) and pointed the direction to go. DUCK to WATER - not one mistake not even a grazing of the rubber tyre protections and passed 5 older kids on the way ....Papa cried with pride.. chip of the old block!

01 October 2010 09:10



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jer says

RE: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review

Like the Toyota Prious Lithium Ion it might as well be a concept car when the run is 100 cars. For Nissan and the Leaf to get volume to market is a great achievement.

27 September 2010 09:56



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Batty says

RE: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review

Always a (far too infrequent) pleasure to read a review by Mr A ff-C. It is a lot of money for a car that you can only use in certain places for a limited time, rather too compromised at present.

27 September 2010 07:31



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John0123 says

RE: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review

I dunno, CM.  You look way too old to have that kind of a girlfriend.

25 September 2010 16:40



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carmobster says

RE: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (2012) CAR review

Imagine you driving this thing. I can't. An electric Smart. Yeah right, why don't I just put some wheels on my girlfriend's electric pleasure toy and drive around.

25 September 2010 12:31

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