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Smart EVs

  • 2021-08-14 10:39 AM
    Message # 10931288


    We used to have a diesel smart car and were delighted with it but needed to get a 4 door so we sold it. Now we are looking at a Smart EV as a replacement and had a few questions that I am hoping people can answer for us:

    - are there any things we should look for in a used car? (we already have an EV so we are aware of the generalities but we don't know the Smart EV issues)

    - we are thinking of a 2018 model since I think that is the latest one available since Mercedes dropped the car for Canada- anything to look out for?

    - we need it for specific drives and the longest one is about 50km (~31 miles) away and we would need to get there and back preferably on one charge so 100km (~62  miles) - will the car do it in winter or is that pushing it? 

    - would be fine for the warmer months? I have looked at data online and it seems to follow the pattern of range changes according to weather. My EV loses about 38% max range in winter.

    We live north of Toronto so we can get some pretty cold temperatures, but the car would be in a garage and we have a level 2 charger so we can preheat I assume.

    Any information would be most appreciated.

  • 2021-08-15 12:11 PM
    Reply # 10932963 on 10931288
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hi Geoff!

    I have owned a 2014 Smart Electric Drive, which I purchased used, for the past 3 years. I can say that it's been a trooper and a tank. It has a liquid cooled and heated battery that has been very robust so far. I haven't noticed any degradation after more than 70,000 kms.

    My comments will be a bit generalized, since you're looking at the newer generation than mine (the newer 4th gen EQ vs. my 3rd gen ED), but I'm pretty sure the drivetrain didn't change between my model and the one's you're looking at, or at least didn't change significantly. Having said that, I don't think there's anything specific to the EV drivetrain to look out for on these cars. They're pretty solid. You mentioned that you've owned a diesel one before, so you have some experience with the car as a whole.

    My experience in the winter is that you'll get a reliable 50-70 kms out of it, depending on whether you're doing a lot of short trips or one trip out and back. Multiple trips kill the range because you're repeatedly heating the car up. If you're just doing one trip out, and one back, I'd say 70 kms is probably a pretty reasonable number. I used to commute about 70 kms round trip and did that through winter. I was arriving home pretty much on empty though every day. Trying for 100 kms in the winter is pushing it a bit too far without having some charging available at your destination. Getting 100 kms range is pretty easy in the warmer months if you drive easy.

    Other than the loss of range, mine has been fine in the winter. Since you've owned a Smart before, I assume you're familiar with the winter driving dynamics. It's a short wheelbase, so it does feel like it's moving around a bit more on slippery roads, but the traction and stability controls are top notch. It's handled Sudbury winters remarkably well. Snow tires are a must. Otherwise, it's been great.

    The preheat function on my generation of Smart ED is notoriously crappy. It is a pain to set up and doesn't really work. Look into the 4th gen EQ to see if the preheat function is better, you might be able to cruise some of the forums for answers there. I don't know if it has an app.

    Best of luck!

  • 2021-08-16 8:48 AM
    Reply # 10934407 on 10931288

    Fantastic information - thank you very much.  I am going later this week to look at one.

    Yes, the diesel was a great little car and we only got rid due having a grandchild and the need for their car seat.

    Now that we don't need that we are looking at two cars in a very different way and want to be fully electric (especially after hearing of the IPCC report)  but still feel a 2nd car for local stuff only would fit the bill - the 60km would still easily work for most of the places we would drive in winter and they are always one drive for the day. The Soul easily can tackle the rest with a range in winter of 300+ even in the very worst weather.

    Again, my sincere thanks for sharing your experiences. They help a lot.

    PS Do you charge it to full every night?

    Last modified: 2021-08-16 8:53 AM | Anonymous member
  • 2021-08-16 4:18 PM
    Reply # 10935358 on 10934407
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    You're welcome. That's basically our setup. A Model 3 SR+ (which has a similar range to the Soul) for the long distance trips and the Smart ED for around town stuff. Works great for us.

    Yes, I leave the Smart plugged in all the time. Unfortunately it doesn't have a feature to limit the battery charge to 80% or 90% like most newer EVs do (which we do with the Tesla when not road tripping). I'm not sure if the gen 4 EQs come with a feature like that. With a short range, and the fact that we didn't pay huge amount for it in the first place by buying it used, it doesn't make sense to try and optimize the battery charge for longevity. We just use it, and charge it, and use it again, and when it gives up or degrades below a useful capacity we will retire it. Not that we're treating it like a throw away car, but it's not worth the time and effort to try to play with the charge level manually. Still, in the 3 years or more we've had it, keeping it at 100% charge a lot of the time doesn't seem to have had any impact on the battery that I can perceive. There is a buffer built into the battery from the factory, so 100% charge on the gauge isn't really 100% on the battery. Also, it's limited to 3.3 kW charging (the EQs have a slightly bigger onboard charger I think, but it's still pretty easy on the battery), so there's little to no stress on the battery when charging.

    Good luck!

  • 2021-10-29 3:16 PM
    Reply # 12082667 on 10931288

    Update finally!

    We bought a 2018 Smart ED4 Model 453, and are delighted with it. The 12V battery seemed VERY flakey in both the test drive and when we picked it up, but I decided that it ran well, had few blemishes and the price was "reasonable" (bad time to buy used generally), if I had to replace the 12V battery that was not a deal breaker. As it happened the battery failed to start it as soon as we got it home! I tried trickle charging it, but the best I got was 8V so it was toast.

    Luckily I have a small booster battery and I could still start it, so I booked it in at Mercedes (gulp) and after a few hiccups re. the warranty - they said it was 3 years and I had documentation to prove it was FOUR years with about 6 months to go - they paid for it all!

    The range has been about 120+km in the warmer time, but now it is getting colder it is of course falling. Not a big deal at all - it has proved to be better than I imagined re. range. I have joined some online groups and bought a Battery Monitor device so I can keep tabs on all the cells, SOH and lots more that I don't fully understand yet. I have a similar device for the Kia. Of course I can use our Level 2 charger and it can be filled in no time at all. I can do both cars in the 7 pm - 7am cheap rate window.

    Overall we are finding it perfect for the intended purpose, but I am glad I had the experience of the Kia Soul EV in my background.  

    PS the Pre-heat function works really well, although I have not mastered the timing parameters that the software gives me.

    We always charge to 100% - yes, limiting it would be a pain - from looking on other forums it seems that is what almost everyone does.

    Last modified: 2021-10-29 3:22 PM | Anonymous member
  • 2021-10-30 8:21 AM
    Reply # 12084165 on 10931288
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Hope you enjoy it.

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