No. 3: Smart forTwo Electric Drive
Ever since the first Smart Car made its debut it has been the source of strong opinions. The squat vehicle is reminiscent of a normal car that collided head-first with a wall and continued to function without ever being returned to a normal shape. As the name implies, it only fits two people. However, these cars may be perfect for city life. Their tiny footprint makes them ideal for parking in narrow or cramped spaces, cities are the best place to drive an electric car until charging stations become more common and it comes with a plethora of security features including voice and facial recognition making it much harder to steal. This is the perfect car for modern women who value function and practicality first in their urban lifestyles.
The Smart Fortwo is a Marmite car; people either love it or hate it.
There is something very satisfying about nipping around a big busy city in a car that can squeeze through spaces that full-sized cars couldn't even dream about, and park in the tiniest gaps, nose – on to the pavement! It's wonderfully manouverable with a tiny turning circle. The electric engine is quiet (at least at lower speeds) and responsive and acceleration is rapid up to about 25 mph. That's more than fast enough in the city where the average speed is less than half that.
Is it polluting? Well, electricity has to be generated and there is some pollution caused by that, no doubt, but this car itself will contribute not a single gram of CO2 or nitrous oxides to the air we have to breathe.
Is it comfortable to drive? Well it will take a driver and a passenger without too much packing and there is plenty of headroom. Will it carry your shopping? Probably, if you're just nipping to the supermarket you can stuff the bags behind the seats. Forget about collecting your big heavy parcels though unless you put them on the passenger seat.
Is it fast? You will probably get 80 to 85 mph out of it, if you really want to go that fast in such a small car.
Could you take it on a motorway? That depends on how brave you are. In a collision with just about any other vehicle on the road yours would be likely to come off second best. Plus we then come to possibly it's biggest drawback; it's range. You may get 60 miles (some dealers claim 100) out of a full charge but then you may not, particularly in winter. How long the batteries will last before they start to lose efficiency is something we still don't know yet so it wouldn't do to go too far from home. Theoretically we should have plenty of charging points available for electric cars but these are still few and far between.
Is it cheap? No. It will probably cost you around £20,000 which would get you a decent four seater from a different manufacturer. Depreciation would be eye watering. Against that, the running costs would be very, very low.
To sum up; if you want a nonpolluting vehicle that can whizz you around town and be the the easiest to park then this will take some beating. It's better treated as a second car though since it's too limited for going long-distance.