Smart ForTwo, the microcar meant to appeal to urban drivers and the eco-conscious, has launched an all-electric version of their car with a quite affordable lease option.
The original car is tiny. It struggles to accelerate. It only has room for two people, as its name suggests. And the original Smart ForTwo, created by Daimler AG and thus theoretically backed by Mercedes technology and smarts, didn’t even get (and still doesn’t) great gas mileage. Add to that a high price, and the Smart ForTwo was often derided by critics.
In fact, it was pretty hard to understand just why some consumers were buying the Smart vehicles, unless it was that they had very tiny parking spaces and the ForTwo was just the thing for that.
Smart is trying to avoid making that same mistake with the electric version of the Smart ForTwo, although their choice of name is truly unfortunate: Smart ForTwo ED, with ED standing for Electric Drive. One wishes the Smart publicity department had looked up the term ED in their browsers briefly before settling on that as a name. A car that is associated with needing viagra capsules is not a good association for customers, particularly when the original gas-powered Smart could take over 15 seconds to get up to 60 mph.
Horrible naming conventions aside, the Smart ED actually does have a little bit more zip than its gas-powered sibling, getting up to 60 in a little over 11 seconds, according Cars.com. Add in 74 miles of electric range, and the Smart becomes a no-gas, no-tailpipe car that compares to the Leaf or any of the other all-electrics getting right around 80 miles of range.
While this is not in and of itself a reason for the Smart ForTwo ED to succeed, what really sets the Smart apart is that Smart is pushing an aggressive lease program. The lease price on the basic Smart ForTwo has been lowered to $139 a month. You can get the top-down convertible version for $199. The initial down payment is a fairly standard-ish $1,999.
The confusing hoop is that you’re not technically leasing the whole package for $139, but you are leasing the car without battery (the glider) for $59 a month and you are leasing the battery separately for $80 a month.
Either way, $139 a month for an all-electric car is one of the lowest in the US and should gain the Smart ForTwo some of the drivers it has, up until now, been unable to attract.
According to people familiar with the creation of Smart, the original idea was to make the car an all-electric from the get go in the late 90s. In a way, the Smart ForTwo is finally becoming the little electric car it always wanted to be.