Smart Electric Drive Only $17,500 after Federal Tax Credit

Smart electric drive in car2go

This all-electric city car is priced so low that I had to ask 3 times to confirm. I heard it right. Spring 2013 you can order the smart fortwo electric drive (yes the car name is not capitalized) for $25,000 and be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Your state may offer added incentives. $17,500!

This all-electric smart looks like the gasoline smart car. With clever Germany engineering, the all-electric is the same size inside and outside as its gasoline cousin.

For an extra $3,000 you can have fun driving the electric convertible smart fortwo electric cabriolet. You can continue to buy the gasoline smart car, but the low price of the electric and the savings of never going to a gas station make that a less attractive choice.

I was impressed with my test drive in 2011 of the smart fortwo electric drive in Car2Go car sharing. There are 300 of these all-electric cars used by thousands of San Diego members daily. The Smart that impressed me used the second-generation drive system. This new 2013 Smart Electric Drive has 50 percent more power to get you up the hills.

I was more impressed with my test drive of the new 2013 smart electric drive here at the LA Auto Show. With a bigger electric motor it has good acceleration. Merging on a freeway would be no problem. It cornered well and was fun to drive.

Only 8-feet 8-inches long, this small city car is popular in car sharing and with city drivers who can fit into street parking spaces, saving parking costs of $20, $30, or even $50 per day. The smart fortwo, as its name implies, is only a 2-seater with limited cargo.

The smart fortwo electric drive is a zero-emission visual statement that further defines the spirit of smart. Based on the iconic smart fortwo, and available in coupe and cabriolet body styles, the new generation smart fortwo electric drive has the smallest footprint of any car on U.S. roads and represents a key step in sustainable transportation.

The electric drive battery fits where the fuel tank usually goes, under floor between the front and rear wheels, while the electric motor replaces the conventional engine between the rear wheels. As a result, the electric drive looks just like a normal fortwo. The electric drive has the same outside footprint, the same interior room, the same cargo space and the same safety of any smart fortwo.

Daimler, owner of Mercedes, gets serious about Electric Cars

In the new generation of the smart fortwo electric drive, an EM-motive (joint venture between Bosch and Daimler) 55-kilowatt electric motor provides 35 kilowatts of continuous power that translates to 130 Nm of torque. The motor can generate peak power of 55 kilowatts for about two minutes. This power provides acceleration from zero to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds, and a top speed of more than 78 mph.

The second generation smart-electric used a Tesla battery pack. Daimler owns about 5 percent of Tesla’s stock. In this new 2013 third-generation smart electric drive Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUmotove provides a new 17.6 kilowatt-hour lithium-battery and electric motor with an efficiency of 110 watt hours per kilogram.

The all-new smart electric drive achieves 122 city MPGe, (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent). The EPA tested range for the electric drive is 76 miles in city driving, about the same as the Nissan LEAF and better than city car the Mitsubishi i. During coasting and braking, the electric motor acts as a generator, helping to slow the car and pumping up to 30 kilowatts back into the battery. Due to this regenerative braking, the smart fortwo electric drive is very efficient even in stop-and-go traffic.

Charge in 3.5 hours with intelligent charging

The smart fortwo electric drive can be charged from any normal household 110-volt wall socket with the provided standard cable or a 240-volt socket. From a 240-volt outlet, it only takes 3½ hours to charge the battery from 20 to 80 percent and about six hours to reach full charge from a depleted battery. Unlike the Mitsubishi I, Chevrolet Spark EV, and Nissan LEAF, 20-minute DC fast charge is not available.

The smart fortwo electric drive can communicate with the smart vehicle homepage through the power lines whenever the car is being charged. This real-time data provides useful information to owners about usage patterns, power draw and vehicle performance. The power line communication enables drivers to take advantage of lower utility night rates available in some areas, enable automatic billing and provide real-time information about the state of charge, interior temperature and system pre-conditioning.

There is an app for the smart fortwo electric drive that provides charge time remaining and expected completion time. When driving, the app’s map feature will highlight nearby charging connections and set favorite charging locations as well as estimating driving distance and tracking available battery range.

The interior is plainer than more expensive electric cars and the electronics are simple. On the dash, a power meter gauge and state-of-charge gauge replace the optional tachometer and clock. Like a gas gauge, the charge gauge shows the percentage of battery power remaining, with a red line below 20 percent.  Every vehicle also comes equipped an eco-meter which shows how efficiently the car is being driven. When the driver begins charging the car, the next driving time can be set like an alarm, so the car’s interior temperature will be pre-conditioned and fully charged for the next trip.

Small Car Safety

Many, with some justification, see small cars as unsafe. The smart fortwo has endured extensive crash testing and meets all U.S. motor vehicle safety standards. Its tridion safety cell is like the roll-cage in a race car.

To provide additional protection for the interior, the engine, High Voltage battery, and 12V battery are housed in impact-protected zones.

Wide steel bumpers connect to bolt-on crash boxes at the front and rear that can be replaced after a minor collision. In a rear collision, the motor is designed to slide under the passenger cell rather than into it. The smart fortwo electric drive coupes have eight standard air bags.  ESP® helps drivers maintain stability, especially on slippery roads, by helping to prevent over steering (fishtailing) or under steering.

electric car price competition

All-electric competition is getting hot with high gas prices. The average U.S. driver travels under 40 miles daily making an electric car a good match. Range is less of an issue than first imagined due to most early buyers being in 2-car households, charging at work, and thousands of public charge points. The smart fortwo electric drive has competition that seats four and five, but costs thousands more.

Mitsubishi I MiEV for about $4,000 more seats four people, has more cargo room, and has optional DC Fast Charge. Although a micro-compact, I found its room inside to be adequate.

Chevrolet Spark EV for less than $32,500 gives you a stylish microcompact 4-seater from the same engineering team as the Chevrolet Volt. Optional is the new SAE DC Combo Fast Charge.

Nissan LEAF for about $35,000 gives you a 5-seat compact hatchback that fits right in on the highway and city streets. I can lower the back seat and put 2 mountain bikes inside my LEAF and the DC Fast Charge has allowed me to extend range.

Smart fortwo electric drive at $17,500 after federal tax credit expands the market for all-electric cars. The smart fortwo electric drive is a fun driving car for households with 2 cars, city and university dwellers, and car sharing programs.

Share This Post

About Author: John Addison

Founder of the Clean Fleet Report, author of Save Gas, Save the Planet. John writes about electric cars, renewable energy, and sustainability.

3 thoughts on “Smart Electric Drive Only $17,500 after Federal Tax Credit

  1. Bruce Jones
    December 1, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Credit is $6,670 not $7,500 assuming a 14kWh battery
    The calculation for the Federal Tax credit on plug-in electric vehicles is based on batter size. For batteries over 4kWh the Federal Tax credit is $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh over 4kWh.
    So the credit for a smart fortwo with 14kWh batttery is $2,500 plus (10 x $417) or $6,670. . . (not $7,500 which would be available for PEVs with 16kWh batteries or larger)
    But the car certainly is attractive with a $6,670 credit. And here in Illinois we also have a state EPA sponsored Green Fleets rebate of 10% times the purchase price, providing rebates up to $4,000 for a $40k PEV. (See So here in Illinois for a smart fortwo, we’d pay $25,000 less $6,670 Federal tax credit, less $2,500 state rebate = $15,830 That’s a great deal.

    • John Addison
      December 3, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Bruce, thanks for the comment at Clean Fleet Report about the Spark EV tax credit. When I interviewed Chevrolet at the LA Auto Show, they told me that the li-ion battery is 17.6 kW not 14 and Chevrolet said that the Spark EV is eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. When I bought my Nissan LEAF, my CPA put the deduction on my tax return and it was accepted by the IRS with no problem. Thanks, John

Let us know what you think.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.