The very trendy electric star of the city center
When the first Smart was released in 1997, the brand’s intention was to offer a different car, for a specific use: a car that makes city driving easy. A car with an offbeat philosophy. We can say that the founder of the brand, Nicolas Hayek, succeeded in his bet. If the Smart (Swatch Mercedes Art car) produced by the German manufacturer, has not imposed itself as the urban lethal weapon for 25 years, it has the merit of being innovative in the field. Discover the Smart ForFour EQ-Power.
What is the Smart Fofour EQ-Power?
Today, Smart has once again been ahead of the game, by announcing its decision to stop using combustion engines and produce only 100% electric cars. The latest Smart Forfour, which the Test E Car team was able to test in the Perpignan area, provides answers in terms of electromobility.
A Smart is nice! In other words, it has always got a nice chubby face. But what do you do with it? When it first came out, it was easy to see them in downtown areas, parked perpendicular to the direction of parking or weaving in and out of traffic jams. Cars frequently used for commercial purposes, as rolling shop windows. While this may still be the case today, Smart has changed its approach to broaden its customer base. In this case, the Forfour EQ-Power is an example. Firstly, with an outstanding habitability… Although it has four seats, the car has lilliputian dimensions, with a length of 3.49 m, a width of 1.67 m and a height of 1.55 m. (Editor’s note: the Smart ForTwo EQ-Power is only 2.69 m long, 1.66 m wide and 1.55 m high).
Therefore, if you have to travel a lot in urban areas for your professional activity, if you are a couple, with or without children, and if you want to navigate in traffic easily, the Smart Forfour should delight you.
Electricity, an essential choice for Smart
Firstly, with the technological improvements in electric motors, Smart could not help but be in the electric business. Then, this Forfour EQ-Power, equipped with a “three-phase synchronous motor with separate excitation” with a power of 82 hp, announces its qualities. Behind the wheel of our Smart, there’s no great discovery, as the EQ-Power version is so similar to its combustion engine sister. On the storage side, there are a few new compartments to note…
As for the interior trim, the plastics are of an ordinary appearance, without much personality. As for the rear door windows, they can only be opened via a flap system. The brand has accustomed us to better…
Reduced storage volume for the Smart Forfour EQ-Power
Regarding the trunk storage, you can only count on 185 L (up to 975 L with the rear seat down) for two small suitcases, two shopping bags or a golf cart, but no more. Especially since on the right, you will find the storage space containing the cable, more imposing, for recharging on public station or Wallbox. The loading volume is somewhat reduced by the position of the engine in the rear transverse position under the floor of the trunk.
Inside, how is it going? The first thing we notice is the seats, which offer a good seating position. However, their “bucket” design is surprising for a city car… Indeed, the dashboard is located behind the steering wheel and features a digital screen that displays the various functions. Very useful to optimize trips, the GPS occupies 2/3rd of the screen, the remaining 1/3rd being shared between status information of the vehicle and infotainment.
The Smart Forfour EQ-Power at ease in the city
On this electric version, the novelty on the dashboard is on the left. On the dashboard, like a protrusion, a counter indicates the percentage of battery remaining and the power gauge. It’s really the place where you’ll be looking the most as the miles roll by.
Electricity is fine, zero emissions is fine! Did you say “city”? Let’s go ! Boulevards, avenues, from one traffic light to another, then from one roundabout to another roundabout, the Smart blends into the urban traffic with a certain pleasure. The pocket size of the car encourages you to see how it behaves when the streets get tighter.
While the streets are narrowing, the Smart’s agility is undeniable. Its impressive turning radius (8.65 m) allows it to weave its way through the narrowest lanes in downtown Perpignan. If you have to navigate your way through towns with such tight streets on a professional basis, the Smart Forfour could become a lethal weapon that could be hard to get past once you’ve had a taste of it. The heart of the city is either your playground or your working field, depending on your use.
Smart Forfour EQ-Power: a spark-free autonomy
On the other hand, whether it is for professional or personal use, you have to keep in mind that this car has its limits. Smart announces 153 km of autonomy… (in WLTP data, the autonomy of the Smart Forfour EQ-Power is 130 km, with a single charge). During our test drive, we left with a 93% battery for 123 km of range. This is not a huge autonomy, knowing that the battery has a capacity of 17.4 kWh.
Thus, it is necessary to favor the “Eco” mode. This limits the top speed (in the city, you might say…), and the acceleration. As long as your driving remains “soft”, it will be fine. But if you have to “slam” on the gas pedal to attack a traffic circle or get out of heavy traffic, you’ll have to switch back to “classic” mode.
On the plus side, energy recovery is maximized. However, lifting the foot off the right pedal does not make the car stop as well as a Renault Zoe or a Nissan Leaf.
Another way of understanding “electric” driving is through the analysis of driving behavior. The “Eco Score” function, integrated into the on-board computer, informs the driver on how to manage his autonomy. Advice is given on how to achieve an even more efficient driving experience.
A conscious choice of electromobility
What about outside the city? You may ask. Well, we went outside the city to find out how this “micro car” handles it. Launched on a dual carriageway, it takes all the power of the engine, with the right pedal fully depressed, to increase the speed. The 130 km/h are reached, but it’s hard work… and on the charge indicator, the autonomy melts like snow in the sun. If you have to use this kind of road, think that it must be punctual. This is definitely not the domain of this Smart Forfour EQ-Power.
Driving a Smart EQ-Power is a choice to experience electric driving in a different way. Urban to the core, this car is made for those who combine electromobility with efficiency and uniqueness. In conclusion, this car seems to be like an extension of oneself in the city.
Engine: 82 hp
Battery power: 17.2 kWh
Power: 1 hp
Electric consumption: 18 kWh
Torque: 160 Nm
Acceleration (0 to 100km): 12.7 s
CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
Transmission: rear wheels
Length: 3.50 m
Width: 1.67 m
Weight: 1,200 kg
Height: 1.55 m
Maximum speed: 130 km/h
Price: from 27 600 €
To get the 22 kW on-board charger, which allows you to fill up more quickly at a public station (40 minutes announced against 6 hours with the standard charger on a domestic socket), you will have to pay 1,000 € in addition.
How to recharge the Smart Forfour EQ-Power?
-Recharge on WallBox of 7 kW (AC) at 80%: 3 hours, 30 minutes.
-Fast charge on a 100 kW (DC) terminal at 80%: 45 minutes.
Since June 1st, 2020, the bonus granted to individuals for the purchase of a 100% electric car can reach € 7,000, but the model in question must have a price below € 45,000. (Within the limit of 27% of the price, including batteries). For our model, everything is good. But be careful, if this maximum bonus of 7,000 € has been extended by six months, it is only valid until June 30th, 2021. To benefit from it, the car must be purchased or leased for a period of at least 2 years. It must not be sold within 6 months of its purchase, nor before it has covered at least 6,000 km.
The ecological bonus can be deducted directly from the purchase price by the dealer or you can apply for it directly www.primealaconversion.gouv.fr
The conversion bonus is a system that allows you to obtain aid for the purchase of a less polluting vehicle in exchange for scrapping a polluting vehicle. This bonus can be combined with the ecological bonus, in particular for the purchase of an electric vehicle. The conditions of the conversion bonus are maintained until 30/06/2021. Beyond July 1st, 2021, this bonus will still be in effect for the purchase of new or used electric vehicles, as well as for plug-in hybrid vehicles with a minimum range of 50 km in electric mode.