Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabriolet...In Us Customers Hands On May 15th, 2013

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabriolet...In Us Customers Hands On May 15th, 2013

After a couple delays in getting the Smart ED (Electric Drive) into the hands of customers in the United States, the first of the 2 seat, 68 mile cars will be released on Wednesday, May 15th.

The first wave of cars will only be in selected regions, think mostly CARB states; namely CA, CT, ME, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT.  A full national roll-out begins on September 1st of this year.

Update (September):  National rollout has been delayed until "early 2014"

It should be noted that Canadian deliveries went off basically as planned, with the first cars being delivered in mid-April.

The Smart Ed comes in two basic trims.  The first being the coupe which starts at $25,000, with a Cabrio model for some open-air fun also available from $28,000.  There is also a $750 dollar destination charge that also applies to both models.

One of the more intriguing things about the Smart Ed is that it is the electric vehicle in the US to offer three different financing options, including the recently announced battery rental deal.

Here is how the three deals work (as we have learned from the dealership level):

  1. You buy the car outright and receive a 4 year/50,000 mile warranty on the vehicle (no option as of yet to extend that)
  2. You lease the car.   Smart is promoting what seems to now be the "standard EV lease deal" of $199 a month with $2,000 down
  3. You purchase or lease the car and then rent the battery

A Look Inside The Smart Electric Drive

A Look Inside The Smart Electric Drive

It is the third option is what we are most interested in exploring, especially recognizing that it was this financing option that actually caused the Smart ED's introduction to be delayed in the US, as lawyers hashed out a way to absolve the dealerships of the liability on the batteries...as is required of them in places like California.

Inside the battery rental offer:

  • Purchase and rent the battery: Smart USA values the battery pack inside the car at $5,010, so if you are purchasing the car, the base net is now $19,990.  Vehicle owners are then required to pay $80/per month on a 5 year/60 month term.  Smart has a renewal program entering month 61 that lets you extend the deal for another 5 years, at the same $80/month rate.
  • Lease and rent the battery: similar to the lease deal, except in this case you are looking at $119 lease and a $80 battery rental

As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

As Always, Black Is The Proper Choice When Selecting The Color Of An Electric Car

It should be noted that under this program, Smart now warranties your battery pack to retain 80% of its charge for the duration of the contract, up to 12,500 miles per year.

"Purchase, finance, or lease a smart electric drive and we'll rent you the battery, guaranteeing its capacity level and covering your annual battery maintenance costs for 10 years. And if you need a replacement battery during your rental term, it's on us. How's that for peace of mind?" - Smart USA

 

If at anytime you want to break the rental deal, you can, provided you then purchase the aforementioned battery at the full $5,000 valuation.  If you don't wish to buy the battery and also own the car, that is also apparently an option as Smart's fine print says "...once you cancel, you will be required to return the battery to mercedes-benz financial services."  We have no clue exactly how this works, or why anyone would choose this option.

Note

Note "Value Added" Marketing Graphics By Smart USA

Basic Smart ED specs:

  • EPA range rating of 68 miles, with the car getting 76 miles in the city and 59 on the highway
  • MPGe: 122 city, 93 hwy and 107 combined
  • 17.6 kWh lithium battery made by Deutsche ACCUmotive
  • 55kW (74 hp) electric motors that puts out 130 Nm (96 lb-ft of torque)
  • top speed: 78 mph
  • 0 - 62 mph in 11.5 seconds
  • 100% charge (240V) in 6 hours
  • 80% charge (240V) from 20% to 100% in 4.5 hours, 20% to 80% in 3.5 hours
  • all season tires - 155/60R15 on 4.5Jx15 (front), 175/55R15 on 5.5Jx15 (rear)
  • length - 106.1 inches (8.8 feet), width - 61.4 inches, (5.1 feet), height - 60.7 inches (5.1 feet)
  • US Curb Weight: 2,094 lbs (coupe)  2138 lbs (cabrio)

Ok, This Is Not The Best Selling Feature Of The Car

Ok, This Is Not The Best Selling Feature Of The Car

Smart ED Options:

  • Ambient Internal lighting system ($190)
  • Multimedia Navigation system ($1,290)
  • Surround system ($490)
  • Center Console Storage ($30)
  • Retractable Cargo Cover ($99)
  • Heated Seats ($240)
  • Anti-theft alarm system ($200)
  • LED daytime running Lamps ($250)
 

As Part Of A $900 Option, You Get This

As Part Of A $900 Option, You Get This "Kinetic Green" Trim Around Your Instrument Cluster

Smart ED Packages:

  • Kinetic Green Appearance package ($900)
    • Green painted tridion
    • White body panels
    • Green interior accents
    • White wheels
  • Technology Package ($1,600)
    • Multimedia Navigation System
    • Surround Sound System
While the Smart ED has all the quirky spartan-coolness you could stand in a 2-seat, open top electric car, it has lost the pricing advantage it had 7 months ago when the car was first announced, as the new 2013 Nissan LEAF S model is now entering its third month on the market with a near identical lease deal, and a similar price of $28,800.

So, will the uniqueness of the Smart Ed make up for the lack of functionality, range and the loss of 3 seats that you can purchase in the LEAF for basically the same amount of money?  That is a question yet unanswered.

To check out more details in the battery rental program, called the "Smart Battery Assurance Plus" program, check out the PDF here.  To build your own Smart ED, or learn more about the car, check out the company's new webpage here.

Below: Smart ED Gallery (double click)