First Look: Chevy Bolt EV or Smart Electric Drive? – Videos

7 months ago by Jay Cole 41

“Honey, should we get the new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV or new 2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive?”

Can you see me now? 2017 smart ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio in special "greenflash" edition trim

Can you see me now? 2017 smart ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio in special “greenflash” edition trim

…is something that probably will never be said by anyone.

The all-new Chevrolet Bolt EV offers 238 miles of long range utility for up to five passengers, while the new Smart ForTwo Electric Drive (details) offers the lowest of cost of all-electric driving (that won’t get you mocked) for two with ~75 miles worth, up 10% from last gen; and of course the ability to park ‘two to a spot’ in the city.

Still, in an odd quirk of early media car availability, MotorWeek has filed a report on the all-electric Chevy from ~$37,500 from the Canyons in California, and on the ~$25,000 tiny Smart Electric (also available with a fun ‘topless’ option) from Miami on the same day this weekend.

Interestingly, both company’s have stated their cars will arrive in limited numbers in late 2016/2017, and beginning from California in December (MotorWeek suggests Spring for the smart ED during its review, while Daimler stated “early 2017” this past Friday).

Hat tip to ffbj!

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41 responses to "First Look: Chevy Bolt EV or Smart Electric Drive? – Videos"

  1. Foob says:

    In what sense will a Smart car not get you mocked? I mean, I quite like them, but they’re not the car to drive if you don’t want someone taking the piss…

    1. philip d says:

      There would be no mocking if it could do this…

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      When you’re driving around looking for a parking place on a crowded street, then it may be the Smart car driver who will be doing the mocking. In some places, he can legally do this:

      1. Scott Franco says:

        San Fransisco outlawed it, but for no good reason. It would solve some of their legendary parking problems.

        1. wavelet says:

          Don’t know if SF specifically outlawed it, but even if they didn’t it’s already illegal in most jurisdictions:
          1) There are usually laws requiring parallel-to-curb parking unless the sop lines are painted otherwise. This makes sense, to avoid surprises.
          2) The Smart is longer than most cars are wide, so if parked crosswise it protrudes from the standard parking-spot width into the actual driving lane in most places, making it dangerous to traffic.

        2. Spider-Dan says:

          If it wasn’t outlawed, you would see Corollas parking perpendicular to the curb.

          “But I have a compact car!”

      2. wavelet says:

        It’s actually not legal almost anywhere, if at all, but not enforced in most of Europe.

    3. Scott Franco says:

      I have a standard answer to people who think your car is funny. It involves suggestions on filling body cavities.

    4. jimijonjack says:

      The Bolt Would be a “No Brainer” in this Case. But Hey, what do I know? l m a o ..

  2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    What would Jesus drive?

    A Bolt! 😀

    1. SparkEV says:

      Jesus I know drives a beat up old pick up truck. I wish he can switch to Bolt, and that might be possible if Bolt can tow all his gardening gear for his work.

      1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

        My bad. I didn’t realize that Jesus was moonlighting as a MotorWeek reporter and that he was only test driving the Bolt. I need another cup of coffee to fully wake me up. 😉

        BTW, I thought he was a carpenter and a shepard, not a gardener.

        1. SparkEV says:

          I don’t know too many Shepherds or Carpenters, but I’ve met several Jesus in gardening profession.

          1. Scott Franco says:

            I work for Jesus, not sure what he drives.

            1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

              I thought Jesus hired only democrats and liberals. Don’t you really work for Lou Sifer? 😉

              1. Anon says:

                No Sven. Most educated Democrats and Liberals are typically Atheists / Agnostics.

                We’re a generally god-less group of intellectuals that are harder to fool, than your average Fundies (of any religious order or Cult).

                There is no room for silly superstition when empirical evidence is your guide…

                And to answer your question; humble Jesus who sacrificed himself for the good of all humanity, would likely drive a Model 3, after switching from his Toyota Prius. 😉

                1. jimijonjack says:

                  This guy died & went heaven & actually saw the Pope Driving a Skate Board ….

                2. SparkEV says:

                  I drove a Prius, will drive Tesla 3 when it’s out with a detour to SparkEV. Does that make me like humble Jesus or smarter since I ditched dog of a car Prius?

                  As for cult, atheism / agnosticism are cults as well. There can never be empirical evidence of supernatural even if it exists. Only intellectually consistent answer is ignosticism. Detour into SparkEV makes you think a little bit more logically.

                  1. Nick says:

                    So silly.

                    Of course there can be empirical proof of the supernatural. We’d just start calling it the natural once we found evidence of it. 🙂

                  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

                    No, both agnosticism and atheism are logical positions. The difference between atheism and agnosticism can simply be having an opinion.

                    If you roll 5 6-faced dice, then assuming I don’t suspect that it’s loaded and you make me guess I’ll say that it won’t be 5 sixes.

                    1. SparkEV says:

                      Dice is clearly defined premise, unlike the question of god. I take it you don’t drive SparkEV?

                  3. Lindsay Patten says:

                    I thought it was more the case that there can’t be an empirical proof that there isn’t a supernatural being? Or do you mean that if there was empirical evidence that a god existed that the god would no be super-natural?

                    And thanks for adding ignoticism to my vocabulary.

                    1. SparkEV says:

                      You can have Christian god, Hindu god, SparkEV god, but you can’t have no god as that involves every possible definition of god. In effect, atheism / agnostics have to create their own straw-man god that they choose not to believe (which Dawkin does in his books), just like theists create their god that they choose to believe. Ignosticism avoids all that.

                      I guess I’m not really ignostic as SparkEV gods (GM engineers) do exist. Yes I believe! 🙂

  3. mx says:

    Sheesh, What’s the quality of the suspension???
    How’s the ride. How does it handle through a slalom?

    Maybe newbies shouldn’t be the first reviewers?

    Or, is the ride so bad they don’t want to tell you.

    1. mx says:

      But, the lady does a really good review.

  4. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    “Chevy Bolt EV or Smart Electric Drive? . . . is something that probably will never be said by anyone.”

    LOL! I’m actually contemplating purchasing one of these two EVs. In NYC, the smart would be a great time/money saver when going to neighborhoods with tight parking (read almost everywhere in NYC) in that it will fit in much smaller street parking spaces, especially those near hydrants and crosswalks, and avoid having to park in parking garage and pay exorbitantly high NYC rates. But if you have to park in a parking garage, they do give a substantial discount to Smart cars, since they can fit them in a space that couldn’t otherwise be utilized.

    Likewise, the Smart would fit in that sliver of space between my garage and my neighbor’s garage, which no other car could fit in, or in that tiny otherwise unused space next to the house.

    The two would cost about the same, since I would trade in my Volt for the Bolt, but I would have to keep the Volt for longer road trips or trips with more than two people in the car.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thanks for that reality check, sven.

      The idea that nobody would ever cross-shop any two given cars ignores the fact that different people often have wildly different reasons for which cars they consider buying. I always give an internal snicker when I read a comment which says “You can’t compare those two cars,” regardless of which cars they’re talking about. In reality, there very likely is more than one person doing exactly that at any time.

      Now, if the article had claimed “Nobody would ever cross-shop the Smart Electric Drive and the GM EV1” …that’s probably true. 😉

    2. Anon says:

      Knew you weren’t sincere when you told me you were waiting on a Model 3.

      You couldn’t handle it. 😀

  5. Waiting says:

    When automakers other than Tesla started producing their electric cars, they insulted drivers by producing golf carts instead of cars that people could actually TRAVEL in. Don’t get me wrong, golf carts have their place, just ask people living in Sun City, Arizona. But the majority of people don’t want to spend big bucks on a golf cart. I would think the interest and demand for EV’s has and will continue to grow the more EV’s range increases over 200-300+ miles. If the Smart ForTwo had the range of the Bolt, then there are people who would pounce on it because they like it’s looks and know the range is there. But for now, range rules!

    1. alohart says:

      Not every potential EV driver regularly travels significantly farther than the typical ~80 mile E.P.A. range of early EV’s. So range isn’t king for us. More important for me are overall efficiency, reliability, and light weight, rust-free construction.

    2. Ryan says:

      Or, if you’re like me (a smart fortwo ed 2015 driver), who has been living with it’s predecessor for over a year and a half, while more range would indeed be nice, I don’t think I’d *pay* for more range when I haven’t needed it. On the very few occasions I haven’t been able to use the range I have or the charging infrastructure, I’ve been able to borrow my wife’s Volt and she’s taken the smart electric drive.

      When my lease is up in 2018, I will absolutely be leasing one of these next generation smarts. The aesthetics, the size and the maneuverability are all things that I love about mine, plus it’s hard to argue with the car payment + running costs when compared to most other EVs (heck or most other vehicles).

  6. ffbj says:

    Cool! So far, though somewhat emotionless and cold, I found this review the most fair:


    (killerwatts)

    1. mx says:

      Hate the robotic voice.
      Get a human to talk.

  7. IQ130 says:

    “Honey, should we get the new 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV or new 2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive?”

    Honey, I shrunk the Bolt.

  8. wavelet says:

    Jay,
    Just a minor correction: The Smart ForTwo isn’t the cheapest EV in the US; the i-MiEV is $2K less.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Hehe, that is actually why I wrote it like this:

      “…the new Smart ForTwo Electric Drive offers the lowest of cost of all-electric driving (that won’t get you mocked)”

  9. Jason says:

    I think the Smart would be a good car, except that it is the worst built car in the world. Dead last in initial quality with 216 problems per 100 cars. No way!

  10. eloder says:

    The smart EV is pretty awesome. I owned a gas smart car and did try to order a smart EV, though in a non-carb state it ran into a 9+ month delay and I ended up cancelling.

    I am actually cross-shopping it to the Model 3, though I will most likely go to the Model 3 due to the pain and torment I would need to go through in servicing and ordering a new smart EV again. The Bolt isn’t actually that much more of a value play against the smart–it doesn’t have a viable long-range charging solution, so it’s as local as a smart EV. A smart’s range can get me everyone within my city and nearby suburbs so the Bolt and smart essentially have the same range for me, for ~$12k more.

    The Model 3 on the other hand can be a true gas car replacement, so the additional $10k for long-range road tripping, good service, and all the Tesla technology will be well worth it. I just wish it wasn’t so large.

  11. Nix says:

    buying cars isn’t the cold logical decision that many people think it is. People buy illogical cars all the time for a ton of different reasons. Even the ICE Smart car is a niche vehicle.

    With that said, while some people will still buy Smart EV’s, or iMiev’s, it is a limited market. And while there are definitely people for whom those cars will work perfectly for them, this is going to have a hard time competing in volume. I hope Mercedes has more to offer with their other EV options, or I see a future where Mercedes is buying ZEV credits….

  12. Koenigsegg says:

    I’ll tell you right now, My leased 2013 Smart ED was the funnest car I had ever driven. It made my hands shake.

    A f****** smart car made my hands shake from the thrill.

    Thrill in a f****** smart car. Imagine that.

    And its true.

    Bolt is eh. Its look kill just about everything about it. If only it looked good.

    But regardless the Volt is a better choice than the Bolt and the Smart

  13. Koenigsegg says:

    Too bad that black and green color will not be available in the U.S.

    The fact that they are advertising it is stupid.