Smart Forfour Electric Drive Test Drive Review

3 months ago by Mark Kane 16

smart electric drive forfour

2017 smart Electric Drive plugging in

The Smart Forfour electric drive will soon enter the market and it seems that Renault Twingo-based EV will be a much better value proposition than the two-seater. The Forfour ED has the same 60-kW electric motor and the same 17.6-kWh battery as the Fortwo ED, but it – surprise – comes with two additional seats that can be folded down to have bigger cargo capacity.

The range is about 155 km (96 miles), slightly lower than the Fortwo (the real-world distance should be around 75 miles, maybe). Size and weight also affect the acceleration a little but, but overall it’s still an agile city car.

UK prices haven’t been announced yet, but they are expected to be around £17,000 (over $21,000), after the £2,500 Plug-in Car Grant. A 17,000-pound price makes it a bit expensive, but it’s less than other BEVs on the market aside from the Smart Fortwo ED (which will  be around £500 cheaper).

smart electric drive forfour

Here are some driving experience insights from Autocar‘s test drive:

“The steering, like the petrol car, is very light and lacks feel but it is at least precise. Although not quite as gobsmacking as the Fortwo, the Forfour still boasts a brilliantly tight turning circle of 8.65m which makes manoeuvers a breeze in town. The ride isn’t bone-shaking, but it is still unsettled. Having said that, firmer springs and dampers than the petrol Forfour, as well as that added weight, give it much better body control, and long stretches in town aren’t uncomfortable.

The brake pedal feel is a little spongey, but the off-throttle regenerative braking is effective. The car comes with an Eco mode that you can engage which limits its maximum speed, softens the accelerator pedal response and sets the regenerative braking system to maximum to eek out some extra miles of range. When left in standard mode the car uses radar sensors to judge how hard the regenerative braking should be when you lift off the accelerator, depending on the traffic around the car.

Out on the open road at faster speeds, the Smart is far less at home. It feels a bit underpowered, the steering doesn’t weight up, and you get a fair bit of wind noise and road roar, but at slow speeds the cabin is a very serene and peaceful environment.”

Smart Forfour electric drive quick specs:

  • 60 kW / 160 Nm separately excited three-phase synchronous motor from Renault
  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 12.7 seconds
  • 17.6 kWh batteries with LG Chem li-ion cells
  • 155 km/96 miles (NEDC) range
  • 130 km/h (81 mph) top speed
  • based on the Renault Twingo (joint project with Renault)

Source: Autocar

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16 responses to "Smart Forfour Electric Drive Test Drive Review"

  1. So, when will it come to North America, and more specifically, to Canada??

    1. offib says:

      I don’t think so, dude. The ForFour since it was released was never announced for the US.

      The Four and Two were built in different plants, the Four with the Twingo. It’s likely they don’t share the same tridion cell that allows the Two to be safe enough for the US.

  2. KM says:

    Plug in grant for BEVs in UK is £4500. Lower £2500 is for Phevs.

  3. Sega S says:

    This is a competitor to the i-Miev. Why didn’t you guys make direct comparisons to the Mitsubishi? Why doesn’t anyone make references to the longest currently selling EV out there?

    EVs are not monolithic. There are categories now. This is a city car, not meant for highways. Exactly like i-Mievs. Apples to apples. They both have keys instead of push to start. Similar range. Smart’s non roll-down rear windows might be a turn off for some.

    I believe this site once mentioned that i-Mievs were the cheapest current EVs out there.

    1. offib says:

      Sure, but the i-MiEV has practically disappeared for some time now. It’s not really being built or sold, and there’s no info to show that it is other than old web pages about the car and trickle of sales that barely break double digits in key markets.

      The latter, most likely would come from off lease cars being shipped to Norway, the Netherlands or CARB states.

      Then there’s the glut of Peugeot iOns, which is another completely different head to sratch. We don’t een know where the Berlingo electriques come from and it’s not mad to suggest that iOns and C-Zero parts are being cannibalised for the vans.

      They’re a very mysterious car that is both between discontinued and on sale.

    2. Arnold Gordon says:

      Actually, this car is meant for highways at legal maximum speeds just fine. It’s just not meant to be driven long distances on highways.

  4. Big Solar says:

    Same battery as fortwo? What a joke.

    1. Sch says:

      That’s not a joke, but modular platform. ForFour is just streched ForTwo.
      My opinion is that 18kwh of energy are just enough for city micro cars in Europe like the iMiev, e-Up and Smart. Still 24kwh would be a comfortable option.
      The Zoe is one size bigger car and it has its 40kwh battery.
      Leaf, Ioniq and likes are still waiting for their 60kwh.

      1. CHris says:

        In 2017 a battery smaller then 20kW is a joke. Even with a car, that is intended for city use.

        And since they use the Renault electric drive train, it would have been easy to adapt at least the 22kW battery that is used in the Zoe.

        But they chose not to, so this is still a pure complience car.

  5. Absidu says:

    They didn’t increase range, performance, efficiency from generation to generation despite using Renault Zoe tech which is Europe best seller. What a shame

    1. Arnold Gordon says:

      Yes, that is a shame. Other improvements notwithstanding, the Range won’t work in the USA/Canada market, at longer commuting distances, with that same old small and inadequate battery capacity. Would have been a contender otherwise.

  6. arne-nl says:

    Double the battery size, and it might have a chance.

  7. Dmlrsacked says:

    They lost access to the best tech when they ditched Tesla and sold off the shares. They got what they deserve with this pathetic excuse.
    Greetings from Stuttgart!

    1. Arnold Gordon says:

      Tesla is not the only tech out there. Smart’s tech in the current generation is actually superior, with its internally heat sink-grid-insulated/cooled batteries using patented laminate materials. Result – unlike Tesla, no fires in smart vehicles. However, the problem with smart is lack of marketing savvy, as they do not seem to understand “expectations” – they chose to ignore rising expectations of not only their current generation customers, but of new customers also, who expect to see incremental improvements in battery range with every new generation of electric cars.

  8. David says:

    “Agile city car” is right! I live and drive in the city and I dig it.

  9. Nicholas says:

    Get it to the US and add CCS!

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