One Year with the Smart Electric Drive

Saturday 13th February 2016

It has been a year, nearly 9,000 miles, and we are still having fun – Our Smart Electric Drive has been with us for one whole year. I have to say that it is one fun little car. Whatever you ask of the Smart Electric Drive it will do and, it will do it to the very best of its abilities. It is a little on the bouncy side, which seems more noticeable now after installing the lowering springs on the BMW i3. But it is compact and so easy to manoeuvre and park anywhere; which is why it is great to take to the supermarket and, the best part is that it fits a weeks’ worth of shopping in the back with ease. It is still by far the easiest car to wash and dry, mainly due to its size but it doesn’t have all the nooks and crannies that the i3 has.

We have had 110 miles of range available in the Smart Electric Drive through summer, but now the weather is chilly and we need to use the heater so we are looking at between 60 and 70 miles of range. This, of course, is always dependent on who is driving the car!

Okay here comes my rant – The eco-meter on the Smart Electric Drive still bugs me. It bugs me because, the first part of the journey when I leave home in a morning, and I have a full charge, is all downhill, so I do not use any power. As I am going downhill to the junction at the bottom, my only course of action is to use the brakes – I don’t even use the accelerator, I just cruise down the hill under the cars own momentum, gently applying the brakes. I then get penalised for that and have the eco-ness taken away from me and the gauge drops. As far as I am concerned that is really unfair, the car should know that I haven’t used any power and that, if I didn’t apply the brakes – which I am doing so nice and gently all the way down the hill so as not to have press them really hard just before the stop sign or – I would end up plopping out into the junction! I really don’t expect to lose percents just because I have 100% State of Charge and I have to stop at the stop sign and use the brakes. This is my biggest annoyance with this car so you get an idea of how I feel about it otherwise.

While over in the UK recently I saw a lot of Smarts – unfortunately they were mostly of the petrol variety. They are definitely very popular over there and I think that is down to the size and the ease of using them in the town centres, especially for parking, where spaces are on the smaller side.

The Smart Electric Drive definitely lends itself to town centre driving, in fact it is absolutely perfect for that. You can easily fit two Smart Electric Drives in the space that one ‘regular’ car would fit into.

Back in New Jersey and the deep snow, the Smart has excelled at getting about. After clearing 24″ of snow from the driveway, it leapt into the snow covered road and roared off without a hint of wheel-spin, well, not too much anyway. Being so short, and truly having a wheel at each corner inspires a lot of confidence.

I like the Smart Electric Drive, its range is more than enough for the around town driving that we do. I’m not sure that I would take it on a long drive – Hmm, maybe I would. But, I think it works best for commuting and around town. It would benefit from having more regenerative braking and that being more on the accelerator. It could use DC fast charging as an option – not sure it is a necessity though. It could do with a little firmer suspension too!


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