Last year, we bought an $87,000 Tesla Model X Long Range for another addition to our long-term fleet, and have shown along the way just what it’s like to live with for a variety of tasks. If you’re in the market for an electric car, the Tesla probably crossed your mind, but that price puts it out of reach for a wide range of people. So are there electric cars on the market that can offer up just as much fun for a fraction of the price? In today’s video, that’s what we’re going to find out.
Roman and Tommy recently bought something much smaller and less expensive, but just as electric. Enter the 2015 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, which offers up zero-emissions driving for much less than a Tesla. In fact, this one cost just $7,000 to the Tesla’s $87,000. So it’s a cheap entry into the electric car world, but just what do you get for your money?
Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: by the numbers
Of course, you’re not going to get anywhere near the power and acceleration in the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. It’s single electric motor chucks out 74 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque. That is more powerful than a conventional gasoline-powered Smart, but it’s the electric model is also just a hair over 2,100 pounds — about 250 pounds heavier.
Despite the weight and lack of performance on paper, this Smart can be a hoot to drive thanks to that instantaneous torque. The electric version also has a kickdown switch that, instead of downshifting like a conventional car would, offers a moment of extra zip that really makes the Smart feel quicker than its figures would suggest.
What about range?
Beyond all the Smart’s quirks and its relative fun factor, there’s still an elephant in the room to address: range. Naturally, the Tesla Model X can run rings around the Smart there, as it can manage up to 351 miles on a charge. The 2015 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, for its part, manages about 68 miles on a single charge. It uses a 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery back, and takes about 6 hours to charge on a 220V outlet.
Weirdly, the 2016 and earlier models actually manage better range than the later Smarts, which are heavier and only manage 58 miles on a charge. It’s the pure definition of a city car, but if that’s all you need, does it make much more sense to save $80,000 against buying a Tesla Model S?
Let us know what you think in the comments and whether you’d have this or something else. Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more Smart updates coming soon, including a dramatic transformation!