2017 Smart ED Loses 10 Miles Range Compared To Older Model: 58 Miles

1 month ago by Sebastian Blanco 65

Remember the whole 68 miles of electric range that the last generation Smart Fortwo ED got, according to the EPA? Well, say goodbye to ten of those miles, because the 2017 Smart Fortwo ED was just rated at 58 miles.

Smart Fortwo ED EPA Range chart

Smart Fortwo ED EPA Range chart

Unsurprisingly, Smart did not put out a press release about this decrease and the official Twitter feed is silent on the matter, and we learned about it from a reader comment on yesterday’s post about two-thirds of the Smart dealers in the U.S. closing or becoming service-only in the wake of the brand’s shift away from gas models and focusing on electric models only.

The EPA’s Fuel Economy website was updated recently and, despite the same stock photo used for the different model years (the 2017 version is indeed the updated electric Fortwo you see in the picture above), the newer electric vehicle does in fact lose about 15 percent of its range compared to the older version.

A quick look at Smart’s US website today also reflects the change to 58 miles.

The lithium-ion battery capacity has remained the same between the two versions, at 17.6-kWh, so it is likely weight and/or aero related. We’ve asked Daimler representatives about the reasons for this drop, but have not yet heard back. A year ago, there was talk that the new Smart Fortwo ED would get up to 85 miles of range and company materials even said 80 miles was expected, so something either changed or Daimler severely underestimated the impact of the “updates” it was making to the style and powertrain.

The last piece of the puzzle is a glimpse into the expanded fuel economy figures from the EPA website. There, we can see that the 2017 Smart Fortwo ED will have a city range of 63 miles and a highway rating of 51 miles. The interesting bit is the line below, where is says that the “combined range voluntarily lowered from 69 miles.” What this means, exactly, is something we hope the company will address when it responds to our questions.

Smart Fortwo ED Range Data

And as for a mildly ironic Tweet from the company, we offer this:

Source: EPA, hat tip to Brian R!

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65 responses to "2017 Smart ED Loses 10 Miles Range Compared To Older Model: 58 Miles"

  1. Texas FFE says:

    The MPGe actually increased so the drop in range is not related to loss in efficiency, as the author of this article suggests. And since the battery capacity appears to be the same as the previous model, the loss of range is most likely due to a reevaluation of the measuring method. The same thing happened to Ford a couple years ago making Ford reduce the rated range of all of its plug-ins.

    1. Sebastian Blanco says:

      Excellent point. Thanks for pointing that out.

    2. David S. says:

      The mention “combined range voluntarily lowered from 69 miles.” points to that also.

    3. cmg186 says:

      Yep. Happened to the 2017 i-MiEV as well. 62 –> 59 miles.

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “The MPGe actually increased…”

      Or maybe what “actually” happened is that the EPA fiddled with the way it calculates the misleading, arbitrary, and near-useless MPGe metric.

      Seems very strange to me that people use the MPGe metric as if it’s a meaningful measure of an EV’s energy efficiency, when it’s the miles per kWh metric which gives the true measure of the car.

      1. Viking79 says:

        MPGe factors in charging losses, which is meaningful in total energy used. You can easily convert to watt hours per mile if you rather. 33.4/MPGe = kilowatt hours per mile. Ignoring charging losses is not useful in terms of vehicle efficiency.

        1. Texas FFE says:

          It’s also used in determining the CAFE numbers for a manufacturer. If a manufacturer sells one car with a 19 mpg rating and an EV with a 107 MPGe rating then the CAFE rating for the two cars is 63 mpg. I have also found the MPGe rating useful in comparing EVs but, since the MPGe numbers of Tesla models are relatively pretty bad, I can see why some Tesla enthusiasts would try to discredit the value of MPGe.

      2. unlucky says:

        It’s a very meaningful measure of how much energy you will have to put in to go a certain distance.

        That’s efficiency.

        The other figure you speak of is useful too, if you care about how far you can drive from an already full battery. But the problem with that measure is that rarely are we given the battery usable capacity figure which would make that number terribly useful.

        1. Omicron says:

          No, it is not. kWh per distance is a meaningful measure of how much energy you will have to put in to go a certain distance. MPGe is a fantasy figure with no relation to reality, which the EPA invented to make EVs look better than they are.

          Now, I’m as much of an EV fan as anyone else here, else I wouldn’t read the site. But we as EV advocates really, really need to stop using MPGe as an argument in our favor when comparing EVs to fossil fuel cars. Anyone with even a basic understanding of maths and cars can disassemble that number faster than you can say it out loud. And when they do, it makes us – the EV crowd – look like fools at best and frauds at worst.

          The one thing you can use it for is comparing pure battery EVs to one another… But even then it works tenuously at best, because – well, why are we converting to a measurement intended for fossil fuels when comparing pure battery EVs? It’s just a poor substitute for what kWh/distance does better. If it was up to me, I’d remove MPGe from usage completely. Less misunderstandings, more actual reality that way.

          1. Texas FFE says:

            MPGe is used in determining the CAFE mpg numbers of manufacturers. If they don’t use MPGe please explain how manufacturers should calculate their CAFE mpg numbers.

    5. ModernMarvelFan says:

      ” And since the battery capacity appears to be the same as the previous model, the loss of range is most likely due to a reevaluation of the measuring method”

      Or decreasing usable battery capacity.

      Usable battery capacity is what determines the range, not the max rated battery capacity available.

      1. Nix says:

        Yes, they may be doing what Honda did with a number of years ago with their Civic hybrid, and limited the battery’s charge and discharge levels in order to extend pack life:

        https://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/20/complaints-from-2006-08-honda-civic-hybrid-owners-still-pouring/

        Maybe Smart is running into the same problem with limited life, and they are using the same fix.

    6. Bill G says:

      Enough of the doom and gloom about the new smart electric. For the past three years I drove the previous model, now I have a new 2017 smart electric. I have always kept careful records of battery range, and from my experience there has been no change, either up or down. After a full charge overnight I got in my car this morning and the projected battery range was 97 miles, exactly what I got with the previous model when it was new. Yes, I drive conservatively, in ECO mode, and that’s the kind of range it delivers in comfortable weather. With the substantial improvements they have made in the rest of the car, I would say this car is just about perfect for doing your daily business around town, which is obviously what they were made for.

  2. Chris O says:

    Yeah…maybe Smart should consider closing those remaining dealers also.

  3. L'amata says:

    Now That’s Smart~ ! ha ha ha ..my dream car ,forget Model 3 !!

    1. Living life 58 miles at a time, instead of the line: “I Live My Life a 1/4 Mile at a Time” (Domenic Torretto, Fast & Furious)!

  4. speculawyer says:

    What are they thinking? They have to pull this product off the market and try again. That’s just not going to sell.

  5. Jim stack says:

    The original Smart-ed used Tesla batteries. One of our friends used to go over 100 miles after having that car for over 5 years. Now they use other batteries.
    I’m just buying the Tesla Model 3 so I have a made in the,USA best electric in the world.

    1. L'amata says:

      This is true…

    2. Cavaron says:

      “The original Smart-ed used Tesla batteries…”
      Not the one for sale til 2016 (called mk3). The mk2 Smart used Tesla batteries, but this one was never for sale, only fleet-testing. And the performance of the mk2 is said to be underwhelming (Nikki Gordon Bloomfield testet it – the video ist still on youtube somewhere).

      The mk3 had batteries from Daimlers spinoff company LiTec. The new 2017/mk4 has LG Chem cells and a Renault e-motor, if I’m informed correct?

  6. bro1999 says:

    This range cut will surely spur sales. :rolleyes:

    1. TimE says:

      A lease offer of $49 a month with $0 down might be enough to persuade me! But I don’t think that will happen, so forget it.

      1. At $49/Mo. US$, that could get some good Nibbles on the hook!

        Even $75.00/Month in Canada! They sold (leased?) Quite a few up here in Ontario, when they offered the 2014 for $99/Mo!

        At $75/Mo, for a 3 Year Lease, I could move on that if the deposit to start wad OK, while I await the Model 3, and use it, instead of the Tesla, for a go to work car!

  7. bro1999 says:

    The EPA tweaked the fuel economy calculations for the 2017 model year. https://www.epa.gov/fueleconomy/basic-information-fuel-economy-labeling

    It could be the changes significantly impacted the Smart ED’s already generous EPA numbers. So instead of possibly getting fined by the EPA down the road, Mercedes voluntarily downgraded the range numbers for the 2017 version.

    Sorta like quitting 1 minute before you know you’re getting fired. Lol

  8. Benz says:

    Many dealers don’t want to sell the Smart ED.

    What will Daimler do about that?

    1. SparkEV says:

      To solve ED problem, I heard blue pill works. Maybe that’s the plan.

      I took the red pill since I don’t have ED.

      1. Tom says:

        Someone has to tell them that ED is not an ideal name for your car that won’t perform as long or often as people would like.

        1. But, but, but…doesn’t ED stand for Electric but Dead?
          /Sarc

        2. SparkEV says:

          Umm. Smart ED doesn’t perform as long (only 58 miles) and doesn’t perform as often due to lack of DCFC.

          I guess I love SparkEV, because it has the shortest refractory period among any EV.

        3. A Gordon says:

          Tom, someone has to tell them a lot of things. But they just don’t listen!

  9. Mike I. says:

    The methodology must be strange for there to be any possibility that the Combined Range could be higher than both the City and Highway ratings. The 58 miles Combined makes a whole lot more sense given the 63 and 51 mile City and Highway ratings.

    1. David S. says:

      Ratings have been lowered from 75/61/69 miles to 63/51/58 (city/highway/combined)
      The 2016 smart ED was rated at 76/59/68 miles

  10. DJ says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh those evil dealers who decided to bail on Smart. How dare they bail on an expensive car that can only go 58 miles on it’s battery!

    1. L'amata says:

      I think they’re on to something….

      1. Maybe those fealers could buy used Tesla’s, and sell them, showing they can handle THAT Job!

  11. mzs.112000 says:

    No one is going to buy this car.
    Most people will just get a used Leaf instead, 84 miles per charge + CHAdeMO fast charging + 5 full size seats + good cargo room + a company that is actually serious about building electric cars and selling them in all 50 states + better safety rating.

    1. BenG says:

      Exactly. You can get a pimping used, low mileage Leaf for what you’d pay for one of these.

      Smart needs a massive upgrade. If they double the range and offer a Smart ForFour EV, then they’ll have something worth looking at.

      1. mzs.112000 says:

        Even doubling only gives them 116 miles of range, and still only 4 seats.
        The 2018 Nissan Leaf will still have 5 seats, and it is expected to have at least 140 miles of range and *might* support the new 100kW CHAdeMO protocol.

        For Smart/Mercedes to compete with Nissan in the new-car market, it needs over 140 miles of range AND 100kW+ fast charge support.

    2. Asak says:

      Ironically the Leaf also has greater efficiency too. So it not only goes further, it takes less power to do it. There’s something wrong with the smart, whether it is an inefficient motor or charger. I don’t believe the whole explanation is just poor aerodynamics.

    3. Moché says:

      Euhhh nan, apples and oranges. If you’re in the market for a Smart it’s because you want a very small vehicle. So a Leaf wouldn’t cut it in the first place, thus it’s a meaningless comparison.

      1. Matthew J says:

        Agreed.

        Don’t really need a car but was interested in the Smart owing to compact size.

        Mileage is just over what I need to visit my father’s home in the ‘burbs. Air conditioning and cold weather range losses have me pretty worried though.

        Until MB figure out its battery issues I think I’m sticking to public transit.

  12. Jojo says:

    The only redeeming quality with this redesign is the ability to charge from your typical public station in half the time. I do not quote the 2.5 hour time because that must be based on 7.2kW draw which is rarely available publicly in the US – think more like 5.9-6.5kW best case scenario meaning a charge time over 3 hours from “empty”.

    Still, it would of been in their best interest to improve range on the upwards scale. I would be all over this car (in cabrio form) if it could achieve 70 miles or more by the EPA. I wish them luck.

    1. A Gordon says:

      Compared to the current model, the new smart’s internal charger will allow doubling the charge rate available from every US household, but that’s the only good thing in the smart’s charge/range world.

  13. speculawyer says:

    At this point, this car can’t be anything but a compliance car that will be steeply discounted to get it to move. So many better options available.

    I keep criticizing the Germans for blowing it on EVs but I wish I they did better so I didn’t have so much easy material to work with.

  14. hpver says:

    The only reason to not increase range on an EV in the current market is because you want to kill it. Almost any other EV would be a better choice than the Smart. In the same price range, the Spark comes with a fast charge option and over 80 miles of range, usually more in the real world. You can still find a few of those.

    1. Asak says:

      Even Fiat 500e is better and it has a nominal back seat. The only reason to get a smart is if you really need to be able to fit in tiny spaces perpendicular to the curb.

  15. philip d says:

    I don’t get this car. To compare, a Chevy Volt gets the exact same rating of 31 kWh/100 miles. The Volt has about the same range (5 EV miles less) with a pack that is only .8 kWh bigger all while being a much bigger, heavier, more powerful car (0-60 in 7.8 seconds vs. 11.5 seconds) with more passenger and cargo space AND carrying a 1.5L range extender.

    How did their engineers manage to get so little range with such a small light car with so little power?

  16. Disappointed says:

    Thanksgiving at grandma’s house.

    Let’s go in our new smart fortwo ed,,,it’s
    only 500 miles away.

    So smart cut the charging time in half and for all practical purposes cut the range in half. So, off we go, we stop every 50 miles
    and charge for 3 hours, 50 miles more and charge for 3 hours. You get the picture.
    the 500 mile trip took 30 hours of charging time and 7 hours of travel time.

    The solution is obvious, grandma needs to move 450 miles closer to us.

    Ooops, I forgot to mention, Our closest dealer is also only 500 miles away but in the opposite direction of grandma’s house !

    1. This is a Math Challenge for Grade School Students?

  17. Koenigsegg says:

    My matte grey Smart ED was awesome

    This makes no sense. New model with less range? That is not Smart.

    So my Volt gets the same amount of EV range and has 300+ miles of gas in reserve.

    Reason why I didn’t keep the Smart

  18. David Murray says:

    Unbelievable. I just drove 59 miles EV miles today on my 2017 Chevrolet Volt. it tends to outperform the EPA figures. But the Volt is a Plug-in Hybrid. You would expect an all-electric vehicle to have a LOT more range than a plug-in hybrid.

    I’m not usually the person to poo-poo on these vehicles for having less than Tesla-style range numbers. But even I draw the line here. In fact, that was one of my complaints about the i-Miev and the out-going Focus Electric. In fact, any BEV model made in 2017 or later should have over 100 miles of EPA rated range. So, this is definitely not acceptable.

  19. unlucky says:

    This feels like it has to have something to do with changing battery suppliers. Not so much the drivetrain.

  20. vdiv says:

    Yeah, the new batteries have a new chemistry, appear to be organic, GMO-free, wild, fair-trade, sustainable, renewable, non-toxic, surface-mined… potatoes! 😉

  21. Benz says:

    A 2014 Nissan Leaf would indeed be a better choice.

    A better EV for less money.

  22. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “so it is likely weight and/or aero related.”

    No. Efficiency rating actually went up.

    The simplest answer is battery buffer increased which means usable battery capacity is decreased.

    Efficiency went up according to the EPA rating. Battery size stayed the same. Range dropped.

    The only cause is “usable capacity” went down. That is probably due to charging setting (maybe it is default to 85% now) or actual decrease in usable battery capacity to “extend” battery life.

  23. GetSmart says:

    I’m at the end of my lease with the Smart EV (I don’t need the blue pill so I’ll leave out the ED). I love the car but for all the reasons posted here about the 2018 model and the long term ownership risks and costs the car does not warrant buying outright. I went for a great lease deal with a 2017 Ford Focus recently and consistently get an estimated 125+ miles to a charge.

    Mercedes in my personal pinion is killing the Smart EV, at least here in North America. They just announced killing off the B class EV. What all this comes to is that they tested the waters and have concluded they need a Tesla SUV competitor, hence the EQ class of car to come around 2019. The Smart EV may be just fine in Europe and other dense cities, but it’s not working in sprawling USA (with a few exceptions), and frankly North America is where Mercedes sells high end cars. So the logical conclusion is kill the low end off and enter the EQ line. It was a fun ride while it lasted (no pun intended), but this was inevitable for a high end car maker. The Leaf in my opinion suffers from an expensive lease structure relative to equivalent cars. If its lease costs were more in line with its competition I think more would sell in North America – Nissan, are you listening?

  24. Don Zenga says:

    10 mile reduction on 68 miles means 15%. If its because of new methods of EPA, then Nissan Leaf which has 107 miles should now have only 94 miles of range and Tesla Model S/X will also get a 15% cut.

    No it should be because of some weight / speed increase. Basically MB is just setting up the Smart-ED to fail and eventually discontinue.

  25. G. Bernier says:

    Hope they upgrade the 3.3 kw/h charger and add quick charge css combo.

  26. Benz says:

    Why have they decided to introduce this Smart ED (with so little range)?

    Could it be that this actually is the best they could do?

    Anyway, there will be some people who do only need a car for local driving on a daily basis (maximum 80 km per day), and they might be interested in buying this EV.

    But the price is also too high (€24,000).

    Succes is probably not one of the possible outcomes.

  27. Someone out there says:

    The smart ED could be a good car for a particular situation but with 58 miles of range, what’s really the point? They seriously need to improve that! And it’s outrageously expensive as well!

  28. Benz says:

    With a 24 kWh battery pack, it could have been a practically useful EV.

  29. GSP says:

    Perhaps the reduced rated range is due to Smart allowing owners to take proper care of their batteries by offering an option to charge to 90% instead of always charging to 100%. This option was removed from the Leaf years ago to get increased rated range from the same 24 kWh battery. Tesla went with the slider control to get around the EPA 90% rating nonsense, and GM offers a “hill top charging” option for the Chevy Bolt EV to avoid the same EPA rating issue. IIRC, if an automaker recommends charging to 90% the EPA requires the range to be the average of the 90% range and 100% range. This is silly, since charging to 90% for daily use and only using 100% for road trips is just fine for most customers. Why deprive them of the ability to properly care for their battery like Nissan does?

    I don’t know if Smart allows a 90% charge for their new “ED,” but if they do, it could explain the range drop.

    GSP

  30. Mark C says:

    Maybe Daimler is just trying to close out the brand in this country and are piling on the discouragement to compel thier dealers to close up shop without an argument.

  31. Disappointed says:

    Bingo !

    I believe you have just put your finger on the Most logical explaination.

  32. plagiarize says:

    It’s definitely a puzzle. I just test drove one today, and still went ahead and ordered one knowing that the range drop may or may not be real. I’m not surprised to hear conflicting information here, or to see a lot of speculation as to why. I’d love if someone could figure it out, put it that way.

    But… the smart works for me (I’ve been leasing a 2015 fortwo ed). The range is ample for my regular driving needs (and my wife has a Volt I can borrow on the rare occasions I need to drive further). The decreased charge time will be more of a plus than the drop in range (again, if it isn’t some strange new testing quirk) for me, so I think it’s all good. I love the look of this tiny car and I know it doesn’t make a good fit for many people, but it’s like a glove for me.

    Could the new eco button have closer specs to the original car, but they rated it with eco off to leverage the car’s more powerful motor? Could it be a drop in aero due to the car being wider? Is it heavier? I wonder if I’ll see any real difference. The increase in mpge but drop in range sure is curious. I haven’t noticed any range degradation in two and a half years on my current smart, but maybe I’m just getting better at driving it efficiently.

    Also, did the range drop in Europe with this or are we just ignoring NEMA as a giant joke (which you know, probably makes sense)?

    Eitherway, I’ve got no regrets in picking this as my next car. I figure three years with this,and then come 2021 (it’s due to arrive in January) there’ll be a huge range of more practical evs in my price range that I could buy, than what I could realistically buy right now (which is just the Bolt which I do like). Obviously the model 3 is technically out, but I certainly couldn’t have one delivered in five months.

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