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2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Performance

This performance review was written when the 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive was new.

Though it’s small and doesn’t go very fast, test drivers are pleased with the 2013 Smart Fortwo ED’s off-the-line acceleration and single-speed transmission, which one reviewer thinks is better than the one in the gasoline model. The Fortwo Electric Drive’s small size makes it easy to park, though one reviewer thinks its steering is unresponsive.

  • "Being tiny, it was easy to whip around corners and fit into tight spaces." -- The New York Times
  • "As with all EVs, power and torque come on instantly at each throttle jab, another reason why the Smart ED's package is so compelling. Combine its immediate thrust with a precise mini-car steering and a beefier battery-loaded mass, and the Electric Drive proved to be a fun, quirky conveyance that traverses city blocks like an English bulldog on 5-hour Energy -- it stays planted and puts a grin on your face." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has a 55 kW electric motor that makes 96 pound-feet of torque and a single-speed automatic transmission. Smart hasn’t released a horsepower rating. Once charged, the EPA says the Fortwo Electric Drive can achieve 122/93 mpg-e (miles per gallon-equivalent) city/highway. According to Smart, the Fortwo ED can travel 68 miles on a full-charged battery.

Reviewers are well-aware that the Fortwo Electric Drive will never excel on a racetrack, but they do think this small car has good power for city driving and passing other vehicles. Few writers comment on the automatic transmission, but one compares it to the automatic transmission in the gas-only Fortwo. He says that the Fortwo Electric Drive’s single-speed transmission is more refined and helps deliver better acceleration.

See the full 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive specs »

  • "That gives this car enough scoot for zipping through traffic and passing." -- AutoWeek
  • "The motor, which sits between the rear wheels, puts out more torque than the regular Fortwo's gasoline engine does-96 foot-pounds versus 68 foot-pounds-and all of it is available instantly. In practical terms, this means that the Fortwo Electric Drive is pretty snappy pulling away from a standstill." -- Forbes
  • "This Fortwo doesn't leave you begging for more gusto and a better gearbox, as has been the case with the current gas-fed Fortwo. The automated manual transmission used in said ‘regular’ Fortwo has earned a reputation for being one of the most lackadaisical we've encountered on a production vehicle, although Smart insists its owners are fine with it." -- Motor Trend

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has a 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery. The Fortwo Electric Drive can be charged using a 110-volt outlet or a 240-volt charging station. The 240-volt station has a charge time of about six hours. Smart doesn’t say how long it takes to fully charge the battery with a 110-volt outlet. The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has a range of 68 miles on a fully-charged battery.

Handling and Braking

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive’s handling gets mostly negative reviews. Though some test drivers say it’s one of the easiest cars to park, one critic says that the Electric Drive’s steering is unresponsive for such a small car. One test driver complains about the brakes, and says they feel mushy. Reviewers also mention that the Fortwo Electric Drive’s overall ride quality is unrefined, and think that the suspension picks up too many bumps in the road. One reviewer says its ride is sporty.

  • "The ride was sprightly and sporty; however, the vigorous ride over potholes and uneven streets left us wishing Mercedes-Benz had injected a little more luxury in the Smart's drive and handling." -- AutoWeek
  • "While having such miniscule measurements is an excellent for navigating traffic and fitting into just about any parking spot, being tiny does have its disadvantages. Such small dimensions make for a bumpy ride, especially on uneven Brooklyn streets littered with tire-ravaging potholes." -- Motor Trend  
  • "And as good as the new electric motor and battery pack are in the Fortwo Electric Drive, one big problem remains: It still doesn't handle like a small car should. The steering ratio is too slow. The brake and accelerator pedals are mushy and oddly positioned. The suspension can feel a bit ponderous and floaty." -- Forbes
Review Last Updated: 10/8/13

Next Steps: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive