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Ouch! That 58 mile EPA range, which is way below the actual range except in very cold weather, is really hurting them. But once again, we have a reviewer that positively despises the car for much more than just that.

I can't help to think that there is something else going on with these horrible reviews. It's almost like there is a conspiracy...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Despite how much we like our smart cars, if you look at the actual vehicles themselves, I don't think It's hard to see why they feel as they do.

Here's a Car and Driver test of the 2018 Leaf:

https://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/leaf

It cost just a few thousand more dollars. And for that, you get four seats, a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 7.4 seconds compared to about 11 seconds for the smart, a near-silent 65 decibels at 70 miles per hour, no stability issues on the freeway, and the big elephant in the room, the 150-plus mile estimated range.

The only way you like the smart is if you embrace the size, uniqueness, or turning circle. Otherwise, as a vehicle for the cost, it is anything but a smart purchase.
 

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Despite how much we like our smart cars, if you look at the actual vehicles themselves, I don't think It's hard to see why they feel as they do.

Here's a Car and Driver test of the 2018 Leaf:

https://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/leaf

It cost just a few thousand more dollars. And for that, you get four seats, a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 7.4 seconds compared to about 11 seconds for the smart, a near-silent 65 decibels at 70 miles per hour, no stability issues on the freeway, and the big elephant in the room, the 150-plus mile estimated range.

The only way you like the smart is if you embrace the size, uniqueness, or turning circle. Otherwise, as a vehicle for the cost, it is anything but a smart purchase.
The Leaf is sold across the country, basically at all Nissan dealerships. Maintance and service too. Westminster smart, is the nearest dealership to me. 600 miles away. A top of the line smart Cabrio there, listed for $34.5k. That crazy. The rest of their inventory. $28-29k.
 

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Yeah, as a new vehicle anyway, the Smart is a very tough sell. But the leases were cheap, and used Smart ED's are dirt-cheap and certainly a value. The small size (and thus, maneuverability) is a plus, not a minus. Highway performance and 0-60 mph times are not too relevant for the car's usage in my old NE US city where urban freeways for intra-city travel are almost nonexistent - it sure goes from 0-35 mph fast enough! My Smart has been on an interstate highway only 3 or 4 times since it was leased/bought more than 3 years ago.

I still think it is the perfect car for our purposes.
 

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The Leaf is sold across the country, basically at all Nissan dealerships. Maintance and service too.
NOT necessarily true - not all Nissan dealers are Leaf "qualified."

That ranges from sales to service. My experience locally - neither (2 Nissan dealers) dealership had demo units or new inventory. One had a used Leaf priced as though it was a rare, exotic Nissan not a 3-year old base model?

Salesman knew NOTHING about EV or Leaf and spent most of his time trying to dissuade me from electric even though I drove in with my ED? Asked if the Leaf connectivity had been upgraded from 2 - 3 G, no one knew anything about the Nissan $199 module replacement? I made a lowball offer on DEAD Leaf inventory and they didn't know what to do - 90 days later they called to see if I was still interested? :shrug:

Note, they wanted to sell me an Extended Warranty but, it was for an ICE not an EV???
 

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NOT necessarily true - not all Nissan dealers are Leaf "qualified."

That ranges from sales to service. My experience locally - neither (2 Nissan dealers) dealership had demo units or new inventory. One had a used Leaf priced as though it was a rare, exotic Nissan not a 3-year old base model?

Salesman knew NOTHING about EV or Leaf and spent most of his time trying to dissuade me from electric even though I drove in with my ED? Asked if the Leaf connectivity had been upgraded from 2 - 3 G, no one knew anything about the Nissan $199 module replacement? I made a lowball offer on DEAD Leaf inventory and they didn't know what to do - 90 days later they called to see if I was still interested? :shrug:

Note, they wanted to sell me an Extended Warranty but, it was for an ICE not an EV???
We have 6 Nissan dealership in KC metro area. All of them offer the Leaf here. Discount prices. Their all over the road here. I have a friend who bought a used one. For his high school son. We got charging station everywhere too. Shopping centers, museums, theaters, dealerships, schools, parks, etc. Tesla’s are all over here too.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, as a new vehicle anyway, the Smart is a very tough sell. But the leases were cheap, and used Smart ED's are dirt-cheap and certainly a value. The small size (and thus, maneuverability) is a plus, not a minus. Highway performance and 0-60 mph times are not too relevant for the car's usage in my old NE US city where urban freeways for intra-city travel are almost nonexistent - it sure goes from 0-35 mph fast enough! My Smart has been on an interstate highway only 3 or 4 times since it was leased/bought more than 3 years ago.

I still think it is the perfect car for our purposes.
We love, love, love our smart ED as well, but even living in the middle of the Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond/Kirkland metro area, we are on the freeway quite a lot of the time in our smart. It's a 20 mile trip to see my mother-in-law, with about 17 of that being on the freeway, and it's a 15 mile trip to see my daughter, about 12 of that on the freeway. And the freeways here during the sparsely patrolled times surrounding the commute hours have an average speed of between 65-75 MPH, sometimes faster, depending on how much traffic there actually is. I remember commuting to work a few times and spending several miles at a time bouncing off the speed limiter wishing for just 5 MPH more speed. And climbing a 5% gradient at 75 MPH is a foot to the floor event. But to not make these kind of trips in our urban environment, and well within the range of the ED, seems like a waste to do it in our ICE cars. So, more power and higher speed capability are definitely desired for us.

That being said, in the city, it's perfect. Park it anywhere, maneuver in the tightest parking lots with ease, and more than enough room to carry what we need for 99% of our trips.

But that's a tough sell, to spend nearly $30k on a new car for just that environment and that use, and with the limited dealer support network. From that viewpoint, it's not hard to understand why the car reviewers have the opinion that they do.
 

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I used to and often still am smart's biggest fangirl, but in recent years I've found the cars harder to defend. When it came out, the 451 was cutting edge. You just couldn't get better fuel economy without paying more to get a hybrid. On top of that, the cars didn't (and still don't) rust, the plastic panels were cheap and easy to replace, and it was the little car that could in a country where everything else was at least 2x the size. The first EDs the public could buy were amazingly compelling for their low price and being the only convertibles to market. You just couldn't match the ED without getting a LEV penalty box or an i-MiEV.

However, time has caught up to our little cars. City car competition is tough. Our mpg numbers stagnated while everyone else has caught up and/or passed us. Some cars that do pretty much everything better but park can be had for fewer dollars and from far more dealerships. The same happened to the lovely EDs. For less than $10k more, you can find yourself in the seat of an EV that will do three times the miles with two more occupants.

Worse, smart/Car2Go likely cannibalized its own sales when it dumped cheap practically new EDs and ICEs on the used market. For what's basically a third of the price of a new EQ, you can get behind the wheel of a very low mile ED 451. It'll have about the same range and fit in the same spaces, it just won't have those gen 3 looks, 3g connectivity, or the turning radius.

I love these cars to death, but it's getting increasingly hard not to see why auto journos are baffled. These cars fall into a really specific niche. That's fine with me, I'd rather be unique anyway. :)
 

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The largest criticism I have of electric vehicle reviews, is the continued insistence on using the MSRP as a major criteria when literally less than 5% of customers are even buying the smart EV. Practically everybody is leasing it. Literally AT LEAST 95% of these vehicles are being leased.


So any self-indulged opinion leader/reviewer, SHOULD do better research into how people are actually buying and using the smart EV (and most others), and then offer advice that corresponds to it. Since everybody is leasing it, rather than say "the other electric car alternative is 'ONLY' a few thousand more," they should get into the lease payments. The smart EV's lease payment is cheap compared to most of the other vehicles. Literally half in some cases.

But, whatever. Reviewers try so hard to be opinion leaders, but it would be nice if they did better research.
 

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Yeah, compared to Seattle, LA, the DC area, Atlanta and lots of other places, Pittsburgh is the perfect city for a Smart (and before they cut public transit service a few years ago, the best city without the name "New York" for not owning a car at all, but that another topic). Yet, you don't see many Smarts here at all, I probably own the only ED in my pop. 1.4 million metro area. The only time I used it on the freeway for any extended distance (to get to PIT for a trip out of town) , the need to kick it down to "turbo" mode just to maintain 65 mph up a 6 percent hill was annoying. My wife refused to drive the ED on the "parkways" (as they call them here) at all.

But looking underneath my ED now, it sure looks like there is room for a battery pack about twice as large as the existing one - a little vertical foot room might be sacrificed, and the suspension would need to be beefed up, but it looks doable. A Smart ED with 140 miles range, DC fast charging and greater power that a larger pack would allow would shut up a lot of the critics.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The largest criticism I have of electric vehicle reviews, is the continued insistence on using the MSRP as a major criteria when literally less than 5% of customers are even buying the smart EV. Practically everybody is leasing it. Literally AT LEAST 95% of these vehicles are being leased.


So any self-indulged opinion leader/reviewer, SHOULD do better research into how people are actually buying and using the smart EV (and most others), and then offer advice that corresponds to it. Since everybody is leasing it, rather than say "the other electric car alternative is 'ONLY' a few thousand more," they should get into the lease payments. The smart EV's lease payment is cheap compared to most of the other vehicles. Literally half in some cases.

But, whatever. Reviewers try so hard to be opinion leaders, but it would be nice if they did better research.
It's no secret in the industry that the vast majority of EVs are lease - on the whole the percentage is well above 80%. But locally, I've seen 36 month lease deals for the new Leaf with less than $2000 at time of signing and monthly rates of $159. That means an effective monthly cost of around $230 or so.

I don't know what kind of lease deals are available on the ED, but let's say it's $100 per month with $2000 at signing. That's still $170 per month effective cost.

So would you pay an extra $2.30 per day for everything extra that a Leaf offers over a smart? That's less than half the cost of a latte.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, compared to Seattle, LA, the DC area, Atlanta and lots of other places, Pittsburgh is the perfect city for a Smart (and before they cut public transit service a few years ago, the best city without the name "New York" for not owning a car at all, but that another topic). Yet, you don't see many Smarts here at all, I probably own the only ED in my pop. 1.4 million metro area. The only time I used it on the freeway for any extended distance (to get to PIT for a trip out of town) , the need to kick it down to "turbo" mode just to maintain 65 mph up a 6 percent hill was annoying. My wife refused to drive the ED on the "parkways" (as they call them here) at all.

But looking underneath my ED now, it sure looks like there is room for a battery pack about twice as large as the existing one - a little vertical foot room might be sacrificed, and the suspension would need to be beefed up, but it looks doable. A Smart ED with 140 miles range, DC fast charging and greater power that a larger pack would allow would shut up a lot of the critics.
We see smart cars fairly regularly, and a decent percentage, maybe a quarter, are EDs.

But I totally agree with you about the battery. Since the time the battery pack was developed, energy density per unit volume AND per unit weight have increased, so that I would be surprised if a 30 kwh pack couldn't fit in the same space and weigh roughly the same or minimally more. That would allow the motor to run at its full rating while still maintaining a very safe maximum discharge rate and providing acceleration competitive with the Leaf. It should give at least 140 miles of rated range. I'd be very tempted, with the only problem being that such a smart would make my current one basically worth nothing.
 

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My 36-month 2015 ED lease was a single payment of $1119 then just the BAP payments each month of $84.80 per month.

Back in 2015 for the 451, there was an ongoing US-wide lease deal of about $130 a month, no payment at signing, counting the BAP. I got some additional discounts for insuring it with USAA - and so I just paid the non BAP portion for all 36 months lump-sum.
 

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With the smart ICE service center commitments expiring in a couple years the end is near.

Especially as the EV competitor’s range and recharge rates leave the smart 453 EQ wanting for more?

YES, it’s a City Car but just spent 4 days in NYC where parking is unavailable/unaffordable! The only smart 453’s that I saw were NYPD gassers.

Add to that the changing landscape created by Millennials, car ownership and car/ride sharing . . .
 

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Actually, as an EV tinkerer, I'm pretty sure there really have not been improvements in lithium battery energy density since 2013 - and probably not much forthcoming. The biggest improvement has been lower cost (if you are a big manufacturer - not schmucks like me) and improved quality control and reliability. Don't expect any kind of "Moores Law" for Lithium batteries. The improved range of the latest model EVs mostly just reflects the lower cost of the batteries and design creativity in fitting a larger volume of batteries underneath the car's floor pan.

The new 4.6 kWh Chinese LliFeMnPO4 pack in my 2011 electric scooter I bought this spring still cost the same as in 2011 - although the quality control of the Chinese cells has improved a lot - no longer a need to buy 26 cells to assemble a 24-cell pack - anticipating a couple cells quickly going bad.

My point was that there seems to be empty space forward of the battery pack (behind a plastic undercover) for a larger battery pack to have been used.
 

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It's no secret in the industry that the vast majority of EVs are lease - on the whole the percentage is well above 80%. But locally, I've seen 36 month lease deals for the new Leaf with less than $2000 at time of signing and monthly rates of $159. That means an effective monthly cost of around $230 or so.

I don't know what kind of lease deals are available on the ED, but let's say it's $100 per month with $2000 at signing. That's still $170 per month effective cost.

So would you pay an extra $2.30 per day for everything extra that a Leaf offers over a smart? That's less than half the cost of a latte.
Who uses the smart car? What is its purpose? How are folks acquiring them?

Folks with multiple vehicles in their household don't mind that smart only has 2 seats. Folks with multiple vehicles in their household might not mind the smart's lower driving range. Folks who are leasing them may care more about how to minimize their 3 year lease expense, rather than care about the MSRP when they aren't buying the car.

Valuable information that fit into one paragraph. The reviewer kept rambling on and on slinging b.s. just to make his crap stick, but he missed all the important points. A good and fair review emphasizes to the reader the intent of a vehicle design and whether it carries out on its intent well.

Instead, his self-indulgent attitude was highly sarcastic about smart's great turning radius and "spending $25,000" on the car as if 99% of smart electric buyers are paying $25,000 for the cars to begin with.

His review lacks context because he doesn't see the bigger picture, he doesn't see the grand scheme of things. He could have just said "the range is too short" and left it at that. Then those of us could really see why he's endlessly whining, instead of trying to fluff up the word count of his article to try to cover up his disses.


Notice how he sticks to paper stats when he talks about 0 to 60 times, 81 mph top speed, and driving range. He drove that car in mild-weathered Seattle. He EASILY could achieve more than 58 miles of driving range in Seattle and he knows it. The 81 mph top speed is based on the 2013 car, not the 2018 car, so he's WRONG there, and his 0 to 60 time is based on scaled-down performance which is based on worst-case scenarios.

Typical 0 to 60 driving is considerably faster, and a good reviewer should mention that it accelerates as well or better than most gas vehicles unless they are willing to floor their gas vehicles while practicing perfect launch techniques.

The reviewer is highly confident. But confidence doesn't mean fair, well-written, or accurate.
 

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YES, it’s a City Car but just spent 4 days in NYC where parking is unavailable/unaffordable! The only smart 453Â’s that I saw were NYPD gassers.
The only way to live in NYC is to not own a car at all and just rent one for out-of-town trips...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Actually, as an EV tinkerer, I'm pretty sure there really have not been improvements in lithium battery energy density since 2013 - and probably not much forthcoming. The biggest improvement has been lower cost (if you are a big manufacturer - not schmucks like me) and improved quality control and reliability. Don't expect any kind of "Moores Law" for Lithium batteries. The improved range of the latest model EVs mostly just reflects the lower cost of the batteries and design creativity in fitting a larger volume of batteries underneath the car's floor pan.

The new 4.6 kWh Chinese LliFeMnPO4 pack in my 2011 electric scooter I bought this spring still cost the same as in 2011 - although the quality control of the Chinese cells has improved a lot - no longer a need to buy 26 cells to assemble a 24-cell pack - anticipating a couple cells quickly going bad.

My point was that there seems to be empty space forward of the battery pack (behind a plastic undercover) for a larger battery pack to have been used.
I'm not a tinkerer so your knowledge may be better than mines, but I do read a fair amount and am a spectulative investor in innovative battery technology companies and what I have seen indicates that battery energy density in terms of both weight and volume have continued to be improved to the present day.

Of course, the problem is always finding the right chart from the right source to back this up and so far, my google-fu has failed me. This is the best source I have available to me at the moment:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11837-017-2404-9

which says:

From 2008 to 2015, the battery pack cost has been reduced from $1000/kWh to $268/kWh with a simultaneous increase in battery pack energy density from ~55 Wh/L to ~295 Wh/L.

So while the current chemistries are approaching theoretical limits, some of these increases in energy density probably are coming from better packaging, reducing the size/weight/volume of safety mechanisms, and improvements in quality control.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Who uses the smart car? What is its purpose? How are folks acquiring them?

Folks with multiple vehicles in their household don't mind that smart only has 2 seats. Folks with multiple vehicles in their household might not mind the smart's lower driving range. Folks who are leasing them may care more about how to minimize their 3 year lease expense, rather than care about the MSRP when they aren't buying the car.

Valuable information that fit into one paragraph. The reviewer kept rambling on and on slinging b.s. just to make his crap stick, but he missed all the important points. A good and fair review emphasizes to the reader the intent of a vehicle design and whether it carries out on its intent well.

Instead, his self-indulgent attitude was highly sarcastic about smart's great turning radius and "spending $25,000" on the car as if 99% of smart electric buyers are paying $25,000 for the cars to begin with.

His review lacks context because he doesn't see the bigger picture, he doesn't see the grand scheme of things. He could have just said "the range is too short" and left it at that. Then those of us could really see why he's endlessly whining, instead of trying to fluff up the word count of his article to try to cover up his disses.
I understand that you are a dealer and so have a vested interest, but I think it is a dangerous precedent to continue what seems common in our current environment, and that is not only blame the press when we have a disagreement on viewpoint, but to denigrate them. Instead, as a counter viewpoint, I'd appreciate a link to an article from any reviewer who sees the situation "properly". Or perhaps you can write a counterpoint - the article is accepting responses.

Notice how he sticks to paper stats when he talks about 0 to 60 times, 81 mph top speed, and driving range. He drove that car in mild-weathered Seattle. He EASILY could achieve more than 58 miles of driving range in Seattle and he knows it. The 81 mph top speed is based on the 2013 car, not the 2018 car, so he's WRONG there, and his 0 to 60 time is based on scaled-down performance which is based on worst-case scenarios.

Typical 0 to 60 driving is considerably faster, and a good reviewer should mention that it accelerates as well or better than most gas vehicles unless they are willing to floor their gas vehicles while practicing perfect launch techniques.

The reviewer is highly confident. But confidence doesn't mean fair, well-written, or accurate.
Well, from what I can tell, ***smart USA*** says the current 453 EQ Electric Drive does 0-60 in 11.7 seconds (and has a top speed limited to 81 MPH), so this reviewer's 11.4 second report is actually better than the official specification. And so is Car and Driver's review on the 453 ED, which estimated 11.1 seconds. If anything, it seems you should have a complaint against smart USA for publishing their figures, and you should probably also tell them how to access this super-duper acceleration mode which no one seems to be able to find, even though as in the case of Car and Driver, the test track drivers have done it for years and because they also race cars, should know how to mash an accelerator pedal to the floor as well as anybody.

But look, what is a reviewer supposed to do? Report figures that exceed manufacturer's specifications just because he was able to achieve them once or twice? How repeatable is that? And how defensible if someone says they are wrong? No, they should report the range as **certified** by smart USA, and compare it to the range as certified by other manufacturers. And I can also tell you, because I live in Seattle, that there are driving conditions where achieving that 58 mile range would not be possible. Like during rush hour when traffic is going 75+ MPH, followed by rapid decelerations as traffic slows on merges, followed by rapid reaccelerations back up to high speed. Anyone driving I-90 in the mornings here will vouch for that.

Again, Seattle is one specific case. We probably have different lease rates here than elsewhere as well, so is the reviewer supposed to report only the best lease deal he can get, regardless if it is only available in one specific location? No, they should be rely on reporting MSRP and let any customers go searching based on where they live. If lease rates are generally available below amounts that are indicative of the MSRP of the vehicle, then again, it seems the beef should be with smart USA, who should lower the MSRP to that it looks more attractive to customers, who can then go and find out that great lease deals are available.

I'm not wanting any argument with you. I'm just calling it as I see it. I'll say it again - we love, love, love our ED and I have been recommending it to anyone who will talk to me about it, but I'm realistic about its shortcomings as well.
 
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