EVs Just Got Cheap: Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Priced At $25,000 Pre-Rebate For US

OCT 3 2012 BY JAY COLE 28

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive From $17,500*2013 Smart ForTwo Open Air Fun (Cabrio From $20,500*)

With Smart having priced the ForTwo Electric Drive at very reasonable levels elsewhere in the world earlier this summer, we anticipated the little EV would also soon become be the value leader for the US when it went on sale.

2013 Smart ForTwo Open Air Fun (Cabrio From $20,500*)


And Daimler didn’t disappoint.


For the United States, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive coupe starts at $25,000, with the Cabriolet at $28,000.  Much cheaper than any other highway capable EV sold in the US today.


The best part of the electric ForTwo’s pricing, is that it does NOT include the $7,500 federal rebate, which the Smart fully qualifies for with its 17.6 kWh battery, making the car effectively $17,500.


2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Interior

The only asterisk (*) we can see is that the MSRP does not include the destination fee of $825.


Cutaway Of Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

The Daimler/Bosch collaboration is propelled by a 30-kW/55 peak electric motor that can get the 2 seater to 60 km/hr (37 mph) in a respectable 4.8 seconds.  Maximum speed is 80 mph and range is listed (in other countries) at 90 miles.


You can pre-register now at Smart’s online site (here), with cars expected to start arriving to customers in the spring.

The only question now is:  If this is the price a premium automaker like Daimler can offer an EV with almost 18 kWh of energy on board for, why are we still paying so much for the likes of the Nissan LEAF ($35,200 – 24 kWh), Ford Focus Electric ($39,200 23 kWh) and Chevrolet Volt ($39,195 – 16.5 kWh)

Smart ForTwo Electric Drive – Available in Coupe and Cabrio

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28 Comments on "EVs Just Got Cheap: Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Priced At $25,000 Pre-Rebate For US"

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Now we are getting somewhere on price-not the most practical car for families, but if you drive back and forth to work there is no reason to not get this. Will force the price of electrics down too


Something doesn’t add up…..

If the Volt’s 16 KW battery achieves about 40 miles of range, then how does Smart get 90 miles of range out of an incrementally larger 18 KW battery? Is it due to the smaller frame/weight? Better battery?

Besides that, I wonder what Diamler is paying per KW on their batteries? It must be quite a bit less than the competitors, or else the competitors have just been greedy. I think it was Alan Mullally that wasn’t recently quoted as saying the batteries are currently at $500/KW. So that would make the Smart battery $9000, all things being equal. That would leave $16000 for the rest of the car which isn’t much. Hmmmm?

Jay Cole

The 90 miles is a carry over from their 145 km Euro rating (most likely the NEDC-although I have yet to see the actual sticker myself), so you are looking about 75-ish here likely…but with an asterisk.

The size, weight , drag of the car do some odd things to the range from what we are used to with other EVs that have sculpted, fluid designs but are very heavy.

The spreads city vs. highway are massive. Which could be good or bad depending on what you are using it for.

The car is a brick on the road with a cd of .38 and an overall cda of about 9. Terrible. So driving at 70 mph is just not a good thing.

Conversely, in the city, you going to obliterate whatever the EPA rating ends up being. At a little over 2,000lbs, it is about 1,800lbs lighter than a Volt. Add the fact you can’t cram two more fatties into the back seats (and not likely in the front eitther), or any gear (garbage) into it, and your probably talking 2 Smarts = 1 Volt.

Kelly Olsen

“Add the fact you can’t cram two more FATTIES into the back seats”

We’re really using that language here? C’mon, class it up just a bit, please.


What would you prefer, fatso or maybe lardy?

I’ll get my coat.

Dave R

car2go is using these (although with a Tesla sourced drivetrain – at least the ones I looked at earlier this year) exclusively in San Diego – They have about 300 of them roaming the streets now. Specs look similar – top speed on the freeway is not much more than 65 mph. Like you say, you certainly don’t want to push the speed that much. It might hit 90 mph downhill perhaps.

The car makes a great city commuter car – and the price is certainly very good.

“Add the fact you can’t cram two more fatties”



@Daver: The ones from car2go are the previous version, not comparable to the version going on sale shortly. The old version is used as well in Amsterdam by car2go. Range is indeed 135km real life, but I’m glad they cranked up the max speed from 100 to 125 km/h. Also 0-100 is considerably faster than the current version. Although I love The old ones in the Amsterdam streets!!

George B

Yes, I met their PM, Pitt Moos in one of the EV groups. It’s essentially a 3rd gen model with some substantial improvements. The smart is very popular in Germany as a city car, and it’s good to see that Daimler is committed to the EV version. Keeping the price reasonably low is probably quite important given the primary audience and use case for the car.

Don Hawk

A glider for $ 16000 seems like a substantial amount of money, considering you can buy a smart WITH an engine for a lot less, also, as Jay said and on the smart website the battery is included.

Jay Cole

You can find the Smart platform as low as $11,500 complete, I’d say the stripped out ICE glider cost to Daimler is about $7,000.

The LEAF is based of the Renault-Alliance B0 (or stretched global B platform if you will) that you see as low as $12,500 (Tiida/Versa I), maybe $9,000 on the glider cost side.

FWIW, ‘word’ is that LG is supplying cells to Renault for $350/kWh.

Nissan just has to get away from Japan to cut the price on the LEAF. You can really see the price punishment the yen puts on the LEAF (and the i-MiEV) when you see the pricing on the Euro-made Smart (that the US dollar is outperforming on the 5 year moving average)

Dave R

Are you suggesting that we are in for a big surprise when the 2013 LEAF is announced with regards to pricing, then?

George B

Good thought, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I believe that Nissan announced a modest price cut for their UK Leaf once it’s built locally.

Josh Bryant

On top of the weight difference Jay pointed out, the Volt and Smart ED use different amounts of the pack capacity. Volt I believe uses 65% and the Smart will use closer to 90%.

Expect the Smart pack to fatigue a little bit quicker due to the higher cycling.


Take a look at this article that came out a couple of weeks ago:


Are we really sure the batteries are included and the car is eligible for the tax credit?

Jay Cole

100% sure.

I have been to the dealer to order/confirm one already. Batteries come with, credit does apply.

Eric Cote

From a price standpoint, remember that in the case of the Volt, it has a whole lot of thermal management electronics, as well as a gas generator and related components. That’s got to add some meat to the price.

Bill Howland

This is great news… If my garage wasn’t full of EV’s already, I’d buy one.


It is amazing that only Daimler is doing exactly what everyone else should be. Take a good small car, pull out the ICE, transmission, catalitic converters and throw in the electric motor and enough batteries for a decent city commute. Then the extra cost is almost completely offset by the government incentives. No need for special touch screens and wizbang headlights and backup cameras. Simple formula that all of us are waiting for but noone yet has been willing to do. Ofcourse that formula has been available for decades but car companies will never submit to it because it does not fit their business models.

Lets see how GM handles the Spark EV. If they follow the Smart car model, it should come in at under 20K after gov’t incentives.


Definitely a welcome entry level EV. No idea though how this author suggests a Smart EV is comparable to a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, or Ford focus. Sort of like compariing the gas version to a Chevy Malibu, Ford Taurus, or Nissan Altima. Makes the author look like they don’t get it. Still, welcome Smart EV. Keep em coming.


Any word on Canadian pricing?

Jay Cole

$26,990 coupe
$29,990 cabrio

Qualifies for both the $8,500 in Ontario and the $8,000 in Quebec (as well as the 5k elsewhere). Deliveries in Canada expected in March/April.


Let’s compare a Smart EV with a Volt:

Smart EV glider retail cost (pre EV components) from above $7000, so EV components are $18,000. Volt “glider” cost estimate (includes engine but pre EV components) $22,000 (based on other cars on the same platform and non-EV components), so EV components cost $17,000.

Smart EV components: one 30KW(55kw peak) motor, one motor controller, 17.6kwh battery, @70kw peak power electronics, active air thermal management, and charger.

Volt EV components: One 110kw motor, one 60kw motor, two motor controller, 16.5kwh battery, @130 peak power electrons, EVT, liquid thermal management, and charger.

For $1000 less in EV component cost you sure get a lot more for the Volt.

If you are OK with useful all weather sustained lifetime range of about 37 miles highway and 45 miles city, 2-seat capacity, little cargo, and microcar size then the Smart is a great EV value.

George Bower

I thought Tesla was supplying the pack for this.
Is that true??
Is the pack liquid cooled??

Jay Cole

Nope and nope.

Tesla made (assembled) the test fleetpack and electronics, and wanted the job, but was way too pricey as I understand the situation and lost the deal. Now Bosch has part of the contract on the hardware, and the Daimler/Evonik joint venture out of Germany (Deutsche Accumotive GmbH) is doing the cells.

Right now, Germany is the probably the best place in the world to make lithium cells. The country has a very strong technical/industrial background, government money is still very much flowing to the domestic OEMs, and the Euro has been trendy really well (other than the last 8-9 weeks) if you are exporting…and if things get worse in Europe, it only gets ‘better’

Laurent J. Masson

I drove both electric Smarts. The actual one and the previous one with the Tesla powertrain, and it was so slow. The German motor and battery are much better. Up to 50 mph, the new Smart has about the same performance as a Nissan Leaf. In a city car like this, that is very convincing.

George B

Thank you, Laurent. That’s what I’ve heard from Pitt Moos, their PM, as well. This should be a competent EV at a good price.

Shawn Marshall

dammit – getting itchy now!! Pull the trigger?? Buy Statik’s usewd one in two years??
Getting a lot closer to the sweet spot – a daily EV commuter for the two car family from a top brand!

We currently own an ’08 smart fortwo passion coupe that we hope to replace with this new electric drive version; it should serve nicely as a companion to our Nissan LEAF. We already have an L2 240V charger in our garage that we could alternate between the two. On all this discussion on costs, you do need to factor in the eventual ‘out of pocket’ as well as the driving experience. We traded in an ’06 Mazda3 GT 5-door hatch for the LEAF so it was about $17K after the fed tax credit and IL EPA rebates, not including fees and taxes … the LEAF offers a nicer interior, quiet & smooth ride and costs much less to run than even the small compact car it replaced, with the fixed electric rates of 6.6 cents per kWh we can get here it’s about 1.4 cents per mile. We expect the battery to last at least the 8 years in warranty and then just simply replace it and get another battery and as long as the body holds up to our salt, etc. have something that will last another 8 years, same would apply to his new smart … the electric… Read more »