Bloomberg has reported that Daimler is looking at the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive to recharge the division's relevance and brand perception, and part of how the ForTwo ED will do that is by being the first mass-produced and the least expensive German electric car on the market. Some context: Bloomberg says the brand seeks 10,000 annual sales for its electron-powered runabout, which is just 10 percent of Smart global sales. More important than how many ForTwo EDs are sold, however, would be the fact that by beating the BMW i3 and electric Volkswagen e-Up! to market, it would "re-establish the brand's position as an urban mobility pioneer with the first mass-produced electric auto from a German manufacturer."

At least, that's the plan – one that we're inclined to file under "Things That Make You Go Hmmm...." We enjoyed our time in the ForTwo ED; the electric drivetrain was a perfect fit and remedied what is perhaps the principal gripe with the current car (in the U.S., at least) – its less-than-smooth transmission. Nevertheless, even though people open to electric cars and the premiums that electric and range-extended vehicles command, we have a feeling that Smart's pricing will continue to make it tough for the little guy to compete.

A conventional Smart starts at €10,275 ($13,489 U.S.) in Germany, and a conventional VW Up! is €9,850 ($12,931 U.S.). The ForTwo ED has been priced at €18,910 ($24,824 U.S.) plus €65 ($85.33 U.S.) per month for the battery – and we'd be surprised if VW didn't make sure the larger, plusher e-Up! was right there with it. The Renault Zoe – not German, we know – will be slightly more expensive at €20,600 (around $27k), plus a monthly fee for the battery, but the Zoe is a four-door hatchback the size of a Clio. Pricing for this landmass hasn't been announced, but the electric competition generally hits the mid-$30K mark: the four-door, four-seat Mitsubishi i-MiEV sets the low end at $29,625, the Nissan Leaf at $35,200, the BMW i3 is rumored to come in around $35,000, the Fiat 500E is predicted to be right there, too, and that's supposedly after Fiat swallows a hefty loss on each car. Chevrolet sets the high bar with the range-extended Volt at $39,145.

The question is, how much less-expensive would the Smart ForTwo ED need to be to still attract customers if and when the electric city-car competition really gets going? With just one car in its lineup, even the conventional ForTwo can't be priced to both attract the desired number of buyers and provide a decent profit margin. In spite of eyebrow-raising analyst commentary in the Bloomberg piece like, "The potential demand for the e-Smart is huge, because people have been brainwashed toward electric vehicles for the last couple of years," we wonder if the Smart ForTwo ED is really the car to take advantage of that "brainwashing" over the long term, or if the only thing it really has going for it, for now at least, is that head start.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      Rita Soetanto
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would get one just to get away from the regular fortwo's gearbox...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rita Soetanto
        [blocked]
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rita Soetanto
        Thor: Since public transport in many US cities is utterly inadequate your 'suggestion', or more accurately somewhat imperious command, is fairly unrealistic for many. The range may be reduced somewhat in winter, but in winter in, say, Illinois, given the choice of queuing for a bus or riding in smooth electric car, I know which I would rather do. You seem to have some problems with others making choices to suit their individual circumstances though.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The pricing given here is confusing. There are two trim versions of the Smart EV, and both have options with and without battery lease or battery included: 'Electric Smart is 19,900 euros in Germany ($24,330) for the standard model, and 22,496 euros ($27,504) for the open top version (VAT not included). It's possible to pay even less by leasing the battery. Prices are down 15,890 and 18,486 euros ($19,427 and $22,601) but the customer must pay 65 euros each month for the battery ($79). The battery works out at $272 kwh to buy, which is way cheaper than anyone else. So the price for the base model assuming that it is sold for the same as in Germany including the battery is about the same as you have given with battery not included.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        [blocked]
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Link: http://www.plugincars.com/test-driving-electric-smart-most-satisfying-ev-123251.html
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        Thor: Where do you get these stupefying "Facts"? I don't know about the median income of Volt owners, but if the average income is as high as you say it is, could be because they are all highly EDUCATED. Higher education translates to higher incomes. Basically, the folks that are anti-EV are the less educated/uninformed and those with a political axe to grind. About that Taxpayer's money subsidizing the Volt, I must call you on your UNINFORMED "bullshoy" The US government does NOT pay out any monies to anyone for the purchase of any EV. They simply reduce the buyers tax burden by $7,500. They do it for the Volt, Prius, Teslas, LEAF etc.etc. All part of the DoE's goal driving down the consumption of foreign energy. To the uninformed (read: IDIOT) this would not make any sense.
          Dark Gnat
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Sir Duke wrote: "Thor: Where do you get these stupefying "Facts"?" Answer: He reaches right behind him.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec: The US family demographic splits pretty evenly into a third with one car, a third with two cars, and the rest with more. I am not sure how many have no car at all, but that presumably is inhabitants of Manhattan and the very poor! ;-) Considering that commutes average at around 1.15 people per car, and around 1.65 for the rest of the time, and average mileage is only around 30 per day, the market for a two seater which is cheap to run should be pretty substantial. It is a bonus that it is quiet.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        People who make $170,000 a year should be held up as examples to the rest of the underachieving nation. They clearly are more capable of making intelligent decisions, since they are educated enough to make that kind of money. Maybe they know something the high school drop outs don't know. I'll bet they don't watch much TV, or have drug addictions (either illegal or prescribed). I'll bet they know how to pay off debt and that they are very unlikely to get underwater on a morgage. It's so sad that many people suffer, but it's likely they are not smart or hard working. Indeed, I see many many example of people who hurt themselves, and I think it's what they want. You can give good advice to people and yet they continue to make decisions that seem be more in line with an enjoyment of pain.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        Thor, I'm sorry that your situation may not seem to allow this but many if not most American families can afford two or more cars. Thus, a family could own a commuter car and a car that can be be used for longer trips (such as an efficient hybrid).
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        If you want to talk about the Volt, pick a thread where that is the subject. It seems your problem is with electric cars in general, and the politics of subsidy. I am not getting into a discussion on electric vehicles in general. This is about the Smart EV. No car suits everyone, and your strictures would seem to apply to everyone who drives a two seater sports car as well as those choosing this car. The fact is that if you are in the market for a commuter car, this will save you a lot of money. The electric version is also good to drive in traffic, and great to park. If you are driving an SUV in Montana, that is fine. Others have different needs.
      gfviperman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Monthly Battery Fee!!!!!????? Deal Killer!!!!!
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @gfviperman
        Yes, I'm not renting a battery, unless it is rent-to-own type of thing where you can pay $6,000 or 60 months of $100. And then nothing after that. The EV Smart should have been the main car that they sell. It looks like it would be perfect for a simple EV setup. But, the price before tax rebate should be under $22,000. $6k car, $1k safety, $10k battery, $2k motor, $1k controller, $2k profit.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      Monthly fee for the battery? Really?
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      American Refugee
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, this would pretty much be the perfect car for me, a parkable city commuter with enough range for heading to away matches on the weekend. It's success in Europe will really depend on the package of tax incentives and loopholes available. I might have to convince my firm I need a new ride in 2013...
        george costanza
        • 2 Years Ago
        @American Refugee
        You are in Europe. a lot of things make sense outside the US. In the US we have sh*(tty roads and no options to save our planet and ourselves and our economy and our atmosphere and water etc...big oil owns our govt. we have potholed underfunded roads and no investment in clean transportation or even bike trails. we have no disincentives like EU and Asia to driving like congestion pricing and no incentives to taking high speed and no high speed rail anyway!!! US is very backwards which is why whiny SUV drivers racing to mao mart will all go bankrupt soon hopefully for the other 99%....and we can all finally have some options. you constantly hear false equivalency garbage from online right wing denialists with no options to driving and we have a congress greased by big oil which has blocked over 200 envir. saving bills just to please their big oil masters and will bankrupt entire nation before actually helping consumers which are also their constituents who are 'represented' by big oil puppets who don't actually give a sh89t except for one day when you reelect them to fu*( you over some more!!! so not many educ. indiv or critical thinking in the US either or we wouldn't be where we are no on a global list of failing democracies!
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @American Refugee
        Wow! You really are 'going native! You follow proper football? Which team? See below on the battery info I gave - if the distance to the away match is too far, you can recharge in an hour. The Zoe will be way more comfortable for going distances though, and is still fairly compact.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          'I play without a helmet ' Your religion, sir, is your own affair! Yes, I am bitter! - Languedoc every summer indeed! Seriously, you have created a really good set up in your life. Well done. Enjoy.
          American Refugee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I ain't complainin', and a nice little electric city car might just round things out...
          American Refugee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Oh, and last time we rented a 500C, which was perfect, but I hear that they are going to start offering the Twizy for rental, so maybe next summer, electric year round!
          American Refugee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          No pads for me sir, and I play without a helmet and thus avoid concussions:) I go to Languedoc every summer, it's great rugby country with a bar in every village, and the perfect antidote to Northern Europe's grey mists. Languedoc reminds me of California in my childhood, before it all went wrong. I actually did the calculations when we went down this summer since we've been talking about buying a car. Taking the TGV and renting a car versus driving from Amsterdam, it actually came out several hundred bucks cheaper for me and my lady to take the train in comfort then it would have to drive down, which would have required four days of travel instead of two, and about a thousand bucks in gas and tolls. Rather, we come back relaxed instead of exhausted, and having to spend far less time sitting on our sunburned butts on the way home.
          American Refugee
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Actually, I play rugby, proper football indeed:) Getting a two seater would at least get me off the hook for carting half the lads around, and the furthest team in our union is about 40 miles away, so I would be fine, and any further distance then that, I'm taking the train anyway. The biggest hurdle for me, if you can describe it that way, is that I live within biking distance of work, so I'd be buying a car just to run errands, head to matches or up to the beach on the weekend, and be lazy about my biking. Mind you, in winter it would be nice, and I could get out of town a bit more, but it's more the attraction of putting my money where my mouth is and supporting the adoption of non-ICE vehicles. Plus, I just miss driving, and this little electric demon seems like it would be a kick in the pants!
      Rollingdoughnut
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why is the Volt listed in this article? It's an extended range-EV, not a pure EV. The Ford FocusEV would've been a better fit for comparison in this article as the "high-end" of the cost-spectrum (if we're not counting Tesla).
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      So the electric costs 8 thousand euro more NOT including the battery? WTF? I understand that the small production numbers drive up costs, but considering you DON'T need an engine or transmission, just a single electric motor, how the hell does that add so much to the cost?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        [blocked]
      Jonathan Ippolito
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well theis is great news ! Now the Circus has an EV option for it's clown car .
      spinftwin
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmm, the ForTwo ED. For those of us in medical professions, ED either stands for Emergency Department or Erectile Dysfunction. I don't think either of those associations is going to help Smart pitch this car as exciting and sexy, or help them convince the public that itty bitty electric cars are safe...
        American Refugee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @spinftwin
        Well, I guess it's a good thing then that only 5.5 percent of the people on the planet speak English.
      Lx495
      • 2 Years Ago
      I really want to like Smart -- the cars and the idea, but thus far it has been a hard case to believe. I would like to even consider a ForTwo, a ForStars, a ForUs, or a ForFour, but the products are too slow, too strained, too thirsty, and too expensive. They might want to swallow their pride, build in some serious decontenting (ha), and assemble them in either Central America, Mexico, China, Eastern Europe, or deep in the American industrial heartland. Are the Smart people aware that Ford is talking seriously of offering three-cylinder motors, and soon? These things should be sold in huge numbers. It's been a few years. In the U.S., they should be seen everywhere. Lars
    • Load More Comments