Smart was a car company that started out with such promise. In many ways, it was a minimalist car; bare bones transportation for two people and a suitcase or two. But, as far as compact cars go, it wasn’t cheap, starting at about $17,000 (what do you expect from a Mercedes-owned brand?) It is safe, but not particulary frugal on fuel… and as I hear tell, the automatic transmission sucks. As a result, sales have been plummeting. What can save Smart?
Many consumers have been clamoring for an electric version of the Smart ForTwo, and for a select few, their wishes have been answered. 250 Smart EV’s are coming stateside… but will it be enough to to pull the brand out of its death spiral?
First off, you won’t be able to buy the Smart EV. Rather, 250 chosen customers will be able to lease the EV for four years at the cost of $599 a month. You can lease a whole lot of other, bigger, nicer cars for that kinda scratch, including many vehicles in the Mercedes stable. But lets say you are really into the whole EV thing, and Smart cars. So what does $599 a month (plus $2,500 due at signing) get you?
The Smart EV has a range of about 83 miles, according to Mercedes’s conservative estimate. Not bad for a city car to be honest. And while the top speed is just 62 mph, again, this is a city car, and even the gas models aren’t really designed for highway travel. And it weighs just 300 pounds more than the gas model, tipping the scales at just over one ton.
Alas, to fully charge your Smart EV from 0-100% takes 8 hours. Too damn long if you ask me, though a 20-80% charge takes just 3.5 hours. And $599 a month is a lot of money for a car that you don’t even get to keep at the end of four years. EV1 all over again?
I personally don’t think it would be worth it, but how about you guys? Would you pay $600 a month for an electric compact car?