Say hello to the new all-electric Smart range | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear

Say hello to the new all-electric Smart range

And yes, we know they look much like the old ones

Published: 05 Sep 2019

A couple of years ago, Smart promised us that it would stop building combustion engined-cars for Europe and North America by the end of 2019.

We’re getting close to that deadline, and the German brand has made good on its promise. Yep, say hello to the brand-new, electric-only range of Smarts.

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Now, Smart has had an electric option available for each generation of its cars since 2007, but this lot is apparently all-new. There’s no huge difference in styling to the EQ fortwo, EQ fortwo cabrio or the EQ forfour, but how much can you really do with wheelbases that short?

Basic changes include new front and rear lights with active LEDs, a lower grille and not too much else from the look of things – other than the cost option of new wheels and lights, of course. The fortwo and forfour now have ever so slightly different faces to distinguish them, though, just in case you’d missed the two extra doors at the back.

So, the powertrain. There’s currently only one option across the board – an 82bhp, 118lb ft electric motor that’s housed at the rear of the car and connected to a 17.6kWh battery unit.

Fully charged, that battery pack will provide a range of just over 98 miles on the NEDC cycle, which should be plenty for the average Smart owner. It’ll charge quickly too. There’s the usual regenerative braking system to extend your range when you’re on the move, but when plugged in you’ll be able to get from 10 to 80 per cent range in under 40 minutes. That’s not bad at all.

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Plus (because Smart recognises we can’t all have wall-box chargers at home in the city) you’ll apparently be able to get “enough for the average daily driving distance” from a standard 230V socket in just over 3.5 hours.

On the inside, each model has had a bit of a refresh. There’s a new eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as new trim levels that come with different stages of equipment. Ready for the run through?

There will still be a bog-standard base model available, but you can also select between the familiar Smart equipment lines of passion, pulse and prime. You can then combine these with one of three packages: Advanced (which isn’t actually advanced because it’s the most basic), Premium (which includes a panoramic roof, a reversing camera and a storage net in the centre console) or Exclusive (adding full LEDs, rain and light sensors and ambient lighting inside). Smart says it has simplified the ordering process. Has it worked?

So, that’s the lowdown. We’ll see the three new cars in the flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but for now we want to know whether you think Smart was right to go all-electric with its city cars. Let us know in the comments below.

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