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The little EV commuter car, the Smart ED

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With new EV cars getting bigger battery and faster motor, it seems silly to get a car like the Smart ED. With its pathetic cabin size, tiny 17kwh battery and the lack of high tech gadgets, the car is really pathetic on paper. Yet after spending a few days with it, I have to say I get why they are popular in Europe and why I think they deserve a place in people's driveway under some circumstances in cities and suburb.

For people who need a second car for short commutes, the car is absolutely perfect as it can get 45 miles reliably. The car is extremely easy to maneuver around town and the small size actually makes it easier to drive than the long and wide Tesla in tight roads or morning commutes. For 2018, Smart came to their senses and put electric motors in all their cars. Sure the motor is little, but the flat torque curve on this little car makes it drive nicer than most subcompact on eco 1.5L engines. There are no shift delays or pissed off engine revving to redline at every light or hill. The car will quietly do its job. I am not going to lie and say the car is a great highway vehicle, but it can certainly go 75mph if you want to. Still, the car is happiest around town or in slow moving morning commute. I highly recommend partnering this car to your Tesla as a 2nd or 3rd vehicle. If you have other vehicles to take the family out and you are okay with the 50 miles range, I would highly recommend it.
This guy (and yes, it is a middle aged man driving) agrees:

I had to go back into the shop to adjust the window. They gave me a gas car as a loaner. The car was absolutely horrific. In hilly SF roads, the car started overheating in 75F weather. The AC would come on and off and the engine made some sort of oil burning smell. To make matters worse, car was getting like 18MPG. I drove the same stretch with the EV car, the car ran it like a champ. I think I got 120mpge driving even faster on electric than gas, AC never gave out and the car was nice and quiet.

After 1500 miles, I would say I am confident in getting 60-75 miles with no highway travel. At 70mph, I can easily do 55-60 miles with AC on. In stop and go traffic, my wife can do about 70 miles in range. You really can't beat it for <$200 a month
As DCFC infrastructure grows, it becomes easier for owners with a DCFC BEV to drive closer to the edge of range, and it provides emergency back-up in case of an failure or outage at home.

But the Smart ED has no DCFC. There is a 22kW 3-phase AC option available, and that's very useful in Europe, but not in the USA.

My commute is over 40 miles in a state with very cold winters, so I need more range anyway, but if I lived somewhere warmer, I'd definitely consider something like it, but only with DCFC.

I feel that the main growth in the USA will be driven by longer-range BEV, but if the underlying costs, particularly of the battery, reduce as expected, we'll see overall market growth that will lead to greater, denser DCFC coverage, and then the combination of low cost and dense coverage will enable growth of shorter-range BEVs.
This car isn't really for someone living in Maine, it is great for people who live in big cities. As I said, on the highway the car could barely do 55 miles and it is not fun above 70mph. Yet when I get stuck in traffic or navigate narrow streets, it is fun and efficient. As a second commuting car, I have no problem with the lease at all. It is so cheap that gas would have cost more as I pay nothing to charge.

Don't knock it until you get a chance to drive one