Electric-only two and four-seat city cars seen in public for the first time at Frankfurt Motor Show
9 September 2019

Smart has become the first mass market manufacturer to go electric-only with the new EQ Fortwo, Fortwo Cabrio and Forfour.

The updated models, which made their public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, are said to allow the brand to “return to its origins”; sister firm Mercedes-Benz first envisaged an urban vehicle powered by a local emissions-free powertrain long before Smart was even formed. 

After offering electric versions of its models in every generation since 2007, Smart announced in 2018 it would transition to a “fully electric urban mobility brand” as its leadership was overhauled, ditching the three-cylinder petrol engines.  

The exterior of the new Smart EQ models, described as “radically simple” by Daimler design boss Gorden Wagener, is an evolution of the outgoing car’s look. The grille has been lowered and made larger, albeit with much of the surface area blanked off, because EVs require less air cooling. 

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For the first time, the Fortwo and Forfour have different front-end looks, with Smart giving the four-seater a more “dynamic” profile than the “familiar friendly face” of the Fortwo. New tail-light designs also feature, while full LED headlights are optional, as are variety of colour combinations. 

We’ve yet to see the interiors, but Smart claims a revised centre console brings a new compartment in front of the drive selector to accommodate smartphones or two removable cupholders. More significantly, a new, simplified infotainment system offers better smartphone and wearable tech compatibility at the expense of some on-board functions, making greater use of a devices own apps and immediately introducing new apps or features when the customers downloads them or upgrades their phone. There’s also a redesigned smartphone app that displays the car’s level of charge and allows pre-entry climate control to be programmed.

One thing hasn’t changed much, however, and that’s the urban-focused electric powertrain. As with the outgoing EQ models, a rear-mounted motor makes peak outputs of 80bhp and 118lb ft of torque, allowing a 0-37mph time of 4.8sec (4.9sec for the Cabrio and 5.2sec for the Forfour) and a 0-62mph time of 11.6sec (11.9sec for the Cabrio and 12.7 for the Forfour). The top speed is 81mph for all models. 

The motor is fed by a compact 17.6kWh battery, allowing a quoted (NEDC) range of just under 100 miles: significantly less than most EV rivals. Smart claims this is still “several times” the average daily distance driven in Germany, however, and the small battery size and weight means less packaging and dynamic compromises. More realistic WLTP figures are yet to be provided.

New features such as radar-based kinetic recuperation, which allows the car to slow down automatically behind the vehicle ahead in the ideal way to charge the battery, also help extend the range. 

The other benefit of the small battery is charging times. Even a standard domestic socket can charge an EQ model in just over three and a half hours, while an optional 22kW on-board charger can take the range from 10% to 80% in 40 minutes. There's still no DC rapid-charging capability, but Smart is cooperating with network partner Plugsurfing, which claims to allow easy access to almost all public charging points via its app. 

Prices for the new Smart range have yet to be announced, but we don’t expect them to stray too far from the outgoing model’s base price, given the lack of any powertrain upgrades.

Read more:

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Comments
9

1 August 2019
Come on, give us a new electric Roadster and Roadster-Coupe! Also, please make the next gen look like the Forvision concept...

1 August 2019

The Roadsters were such a missed opportunity ruined by a rubbishy gearbox and even worse build quality (water leaks galore getting into the electrics apparently).  Can't remember what the Forvision looked like but I wish the frontal styling of the FourTwo (and Four) would go back to the first two versions, with a smooth contour from grille to top of windscreen.  Apparently it was claimed that a stepped front was inevitable due to pedestrian safety regulations but I suspect that was a feeble excuse and could be got round with a bit of ingenuity!

1 August 2019

A quick look at the used classifeds for electric cars shows lots of the first models going for reasonable prices - but the pitifully short range rules them out for me.

Maybe the new models with extended range may follow suit in becoming reasonably price second hand buys....then I might be interested.

I agree with other people posting here regarding the coupe and roadster - it would be great to see a new (and better made) version of those cars, especially in electric form - my money would be waiting :-)

2 August 2019

I hope they have more range, cause it won't sell in the numbers they hope otherwise.

I have a roadster, just got it at the weekend, and I've had 3 previous. They are fantastic little cars, so much fun to be had in them. The gearbox is liveable with, once you've mastered how it works. They make great second cars, I'd never have one as a main one now, not at 15 years old.

I would love if they did a new one, particularly if they did it with the Brabus engine tuned up a little. If ford can get 153bhp from their 1.0, I'm sure Brabus could do the same. Electric is fine too, but too small for the batteries needed, so range would be poor

30 August 2019

Don't you mean "embiggened"? :-)

5 September 2019

I’d love to see a new Roadster, especially in coupe form. Electric, petrol, whetever. Something small, different, and fun.

5 September 2019

.

No, thank you. As is, i think it will end up being bought mainly for drive share purposes.

 

Also, it's kinda weird that all the official pics show solid color cars. The Tridion Cell ( in a contrasting color ) used to be one of Smarts USPs.

5 September 2019

The fronts look a lot better although the difference between the Fortwo and Forfour seem hardly worth mentioning from the pictures.  I still prefer the shape of the Mk1&2 though.

5 September 2019

Autocar say they haven't seen the interior, but it is on the Smart Press release website. It is the same, bar a few details, like carplay option and the cubby in front of the gear lever being different.

As for the looks, not bad. The fortwo version looks like a Mk1 Citreon C1 redesign.

Still wish they hadn't got rid of the petrol version until the next generation. As it is, it is going to be a tough sell, particularly to current owners

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