Although Smart was happy with the Zytek collaboration that produced earlier electric Fortwos incidentally, the UK company doesn’t manufacture in high volumes. The nickel-cobalt-manganese lithium-ion battery charges in seven hours rather than eight from a domestic socket, and can now be fast-charged in an hour.
Driving this Smart is blissfully easy and pleasingly free of the faltering gearchanges that afflict piston-powered Fortwos. Sinking the throttle produces surprising thrust, and it’s no less eager when you’re rolling along at 30-50mph and need a burst of go.
Motorways are less stressful now that it tops 78mph rather than 62mph, although they’re not its favoured habitat.
Drawbacks? The ride can get choppy and the £52 monthly battery lease price seems steep.
Should I buy one?
But if you can score a £5000 government subsidy, you’ll be paying £10k for a chic, entertaining and practical zero-emission city car that battery fees apart, will cost little to run.
True, you can have a Yaris hybrid that puts out similar emissions on a well-to-wheel basis, that’s speedily refuelled and seats four, but this electric Smart is the most credible pure electric yet.
Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
Price: £15,300 est; 0-62mph: 11.5sec; Top speed: 78mph; Economy: NA; C02: Zero; Recharge time, standard domestic supply: 7 hours; Range: 90 miles; Kerbweight: 900kg; Engine: Electric; Power: 74bhp max, 47bhp continuous; Torque: 96lb ft; Gearbox: Single speed