I went into my weeklong loan of the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive expecting to dislike it. Seven days later, I didn’t find anything that had changed my mind. But before I get into all the reasons you shouldn’t buy an electric Smart, I think it’s only fair that I offer up some positives. First, like all Smart ForTwo models, the ED is extremely maneuverable and has the best turning radius in the business. Second … well, that 22.8-foot turning radius is really something special.
For $24,650, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive — I’ll decline to make any jokes about the ED initials of early electric Smart models, but know that the humor is not lost on me — offers up a range of 58 miles on a full charge of its 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. We’ll get back to that little specification shortly. What little forward thrust is available comes from a three-phase synchronous electric motor that produces 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. 0-60 takes 11.4 agonizing seconds, and the top speed is mercifully limited to 81 miles per hour. My test car was equipped with a few options that pushed its price up to $29,810 and added an ironic “Passion” script just ahead of the side-view mirrors.
There are two seats in the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. In front of the driver is a gauge binnacle that houses a speedometer along its outer edge, and an electronic display that can show things like current state of charge, available range, or an energy flow gauge that helps you keep tabs on how efficiently you’re driving. Oddly, there’s another gauge pod atop the left side of the dash with gauges that mechanically duplicate state of power and the percentage of power currently being consumed.
The rest of the interior is made up of an assortment of plastics, some optionally colorful and others various shades of black, and none of it feels worthy of a $30,000 sticker price. In our last test of the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, we called the interior finishings “a tragic universe of mismatched petrochemical schmutz.” That just about sums it up.
The first time we reviewed a Smart ForTwo ED here at Autoblog, it was only capable of mustering a top speed of 62 miles per hour, and it took all of 26.7 seconds to reach that terminal velocity. Things improved from there — we tested an ED in 2013 and were pleased enough with the improvement that we thought it might actually make sense to a small subset of the American population. These days, there are just too many better options competing for a customers’ hard-earned cash to recommend the ForTwo Electric Drive.
For most people, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is $25,000 of misspent money. An electric bicycle is comparatively cheap. The Uber app is free. And if all else fails, it probably wouldn’t take very long to memorize your local bus route.