smart Electric Drive

All-electric, zero-emissions version of city-friendly Fourtwo and Fourfour​​


Before pedants roll their eyes and tut, we know electric cars aren’t necessarily zero emission – it depends how the power is generated. But quibbles aside, if you’re looking to scoot around town in a car that makes no fumes, costs little to charge and turns on a sixpence, Smart makes a compelling case with the Electric Drive range. It’s the fourth generation of Smart electric power and includes the two-seat Fourtwo, the four-seater Fourfour and the Fortwo Cabrio as well.


Smart cars may be small, but they are tough. The Tridion safety cell protects occupants in the event of an accident; safety systems include Active Brake Assist with autonomous braking, Crosswind Assist and Electronic Stability Program. There’s also an iSize system for attaching child seats and a tyre pressure monitoring system. EuroNCAP gives the Fourtwo a four-star rating though they point out this didn’t include a dynamic (crash) assessment. 


Smart has always been about slick, contemporary design and the chunky, upright Fourtwo makes a design statement; there’s nothing else like it on the road. The longer proportions of the Fourfour are a little more conventional in appearance, but both models share a wheel-at-each-corner, snub-nosed and purposeful look. ​Clues to the powertrain come in the form of Electric Drive lettering front and rear, a logo on the Tridion safety cell D-pillar and a lid for a charging socket in place of a fuel tank. There’s an Electric Drive design package in vivid green to contrast with the solid body colour and black gloss alloy wheels. Inside it’s appealing and well-appointed with plenty of cubbyholes.


​Electric power is smooth and instantaneous, so it’s perfect for city streets and traffic light getaways. O-62mph takes 11.5 sec in the Fourtwo and 12.7 in the Fourfour, but that understates the ‘fast out of the blocks’ feel you’ll get at urban speeds. Another bonus with the Electric Drive Smart is that the weight of the battery is carried low, so it handles well. The Four-two has a tiny 6.95-metre turning circle so can pull a U-turn in most sidestreets – and of course it can park nose in to the kerb. 


Both the Fourtwo and Fourfour have an 80bhp electric motor  powered by a 17.6kWh battery, with a single-speed transmission. A full charge is claimed to get you 100 miles but you’ll probably want to recharge at around the 75-mile mark. If you have charging points at home, the office or the station then in practice you won’t have to worry – just arrive, plug in and go about your business. 

Charging via the 7kW on-board charger takes around 3.5 hours to reach 80%. There’s a dash-mounted Electric Drive instrument that tells you how much charge you have left and a smart media system including 7” touchscreen, Bluetooth, audio streaming and a Europe-wide navigation system. The system can also tell you where to find the nearest charging station. 

Verdict: There are now quite a few small electric cars to choose from but the characterful looks and upmarket interior of the Smart Electric Drive Fourtwo and Fourfour will continue to win over customers. And if you want an electric convertible two-seater, there’s only one game in town – the unique fourtwo Electric Drive Cabrio. All Electric Drive models are perfect for the cut and thrust of city streets – with the advantage that a ‘fill up’ costs just pennies.

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