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After asking for some opinions from forum members a few days ago in my Undecided post, I have today decided and signed the lease for a brand new 2014 Smart ED Cabrio.

Thanks for everybody's responses to my questions, though towards the end the thread seemed to have gone astray a bit with Lemon Law technicalities.

After the Tampa dealer had told me they didn't have any EDs, not even to test drive, and the closest one in Florida would be in Coconut Creek, on the opposite Florida coast, some four hour drive away, I had pretty much lost all hope to meet one in person any time soon.

On a whim I went to my more local Clearwater dealer. To my astonishment they had one in stock. I couldn't believe it after having read about the EDs being concentrated in "green" states, running other states' stock dry and trading freezes between dealers.

It was their last one. A convertible. I didn't want a convertible, just the basic model, but after experiencing this grin-inducing peppy box, I couldn't help it. I had to get it.

My reasons for getting an ED are:

  • Perfect size for my daily commute,
  • No ICE maintenance,
  • Power recuperation,
  • Insane acceleration (for its size).
I'm not planning on getting a Level 2 charger just yet, and realize that it will be somewhat challenging on days that I need to do a little more driving than my commute, which is 54 miles round-trip. But, I have a rather convenient fallback option in the form of four Chargepoint stations right next door to my work. Very unexpected in a relatively sparsely populated area and only a handful of offices around.

Unfortunately, my employer will not be allowing me to plug in the slow charger in their parking garage. They plan on installing charge stations in the near future, though, possibly within a year.

Here are the things I don't like:

  • Somewhat uncomfortable seats. I feel a little like sitting on a too narrow board with no side support for quick turns.
  • The seats don't recline enough for me to take a snooze.
  • The seats don't move up or down. Could really use some down adjustment. At some traffic lights I have to crouch to see them. And: Looking through the rearview mirror, the rear window is not high enough. I can't see back far enough.
  • Intermittent wiper with sensor takes a little getting used to. Sometimes it wipes when I don't need it, and doesn't when I do. Also, missing a quick wipe option that doesn't lock in the lever.
  • Weak dome light. Missing light in rear.
Couple of questions:
  • Are there aftermarket seats available with better side support, up/down adjustment and more back tilt (I know there isn't much space to tilt back)?
  • What is that black round puck stuck to the windshield to the left of the rearview mirror? The rain sensor?
  • Can I assume that when recuperating - whether by applying the brake pedal or "coasting" - and the power gauge dial not pointing all the way to the Off position that braking is done by the recuperation mechanism only and the brake pads are not being applied? Likewise, is it possible to come to a complete stop without the brake pads ever engaging by braking slowly enough so that the power gauge never hits the Off position?
I was a little confused at first looking at the dash display when charging, since it says "Charge Now." To me that sounds like "not currently charging, you need to charge now," but everything was connected and the charger was blinking away in green.

But apparently, the somewhat inconspicuous plug symbol in combination with the blinking squares on the charge progress bar on the dash display is the indication that it's charging. And "Charge Now" is just the title of the menu, as opposed to the menu "Charge and Depart" for the delayed charge. Adding to the confusion is that the manual seems to say "Instant Charge" for the actually displayed "Charge Now" menu title.

Other than that I'm quite the happy camper. I've never leased a car before, though I don't know if I would want to own a battery-powered car anyway. Too scared by it failing after the warranty expires and uncertain about resale value after the battery warranty or Battery Plus program would expire.
 

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Congratulations on the new ED. I'm some of the more experienced will answer your questions shortly. I believe the puck is the rain sensor, but my car doesn't have it so I'm not sure about that. I have the same traffic light visibility issue, except I can generally overcome it by pulling up until I can see it through my plastic roof.
 

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After asking for some opinions from forum members a few days ago in my Undecided post, I have today decided and signed the lease for a brand new 2014 Smart ED Cabrio.
Congratulations! And welcome!

[*]Intermittent wiper with sensor takes a little getting used to. Sometimes it wipes when I don't need it, and doesn't when I do. Also, missing a quick wipe option that doesn't lock in the lever.
I don't like that either, good-old time-based interval wipe would be better! I flip the lever up and back down when the car is tardy on wiping sprinkles off the windshield.

What is that black round puck stuck to the windshield to the left of the rearview mirror? The rain sensor?
Yes, that's the cause of your intermittent wiping problems (and a major front view obstructor).

[*]Can I assume that when recuperating - whether by applying the brake pedal or "coasting" - and the power gauge dial not pointing all the way to the Off position that braking is done by the recuperation mechanism only and the brake pads are not being applied? Likewise, is it possible to come to a complete stop without the brake pads ever engaging by braking slowly enough so that the power gauge never hits the Off position?
Do you have the steering wheel paddles that allow switching between D-, D and D+? ooohhh D+:D If so, you get more recuperation in D+ without brakes, but in either case you need to apply some pressure to the brakes to get maximum recuperation. It's not easy to tell when the friction brakes start working.
You do need to use friction brakes to come to a full stop because of the simulated transmission creep. Or shift to Neutral to coast to a stop, but there is no recuperation in neutral.

Too scared by it failing after the warranty expires and uncertain about resale value after the battery warranty or Battery Plus program would expire.
Time will tell. Me, I think there are way fewer things to fail in the ED than in the ICEs, except the battery. And BAP takes care of that worry for 10 years.
 

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After asking for some opinions from forum members a few days ago in my Undecided post, I have today decided and signed the lease for a brand new 2014 Smart ED Cabrio.
Excellent! Congrats!

I was a little confused at first looking at the dash display when charging, since it says "Charge Now." To me that sounds like "not currently charging, you need to charge now," but everything was connected and the charger was blinking away in green.
Yes, poor user interface model. I experienced the same, and needed to train others who use my car to understand what all the blinking lights and symbols are on the dash. Sigh. :bangwall:

Can I assume that when recuperating - whether by applying the brake pedal or "coasting" - and the power gauge dial not pointing all the way to the Off position that braking is done by the recuperation mechanism only and the brake pads are not being applied? Likewise, is it possible to come to a complete stop without the brake pads ever engaging by braking slowly enough so that the power gauge never hits the Off position?
Note : I didn't purchase the recuperation paddles.

I have seen three levels of recuperation, followed by friction brakes.

1. Low. Just let off the accelerator. Power gauge moves slightly to the left of center, around 10 o'clock.

2. Medium. Apply light pressure to brake. Power gauge moves to 8 o'clock.

3. High. Medium pressure to brake peddle. Power gauge pegged to 7 o'clock position.

4. With higher pressure on the brake, the power usage gauge stays pegged to the maximum, and on rare occasions I am able to (or I imagine I can) feel a transition to friction brakes.

Frankly, the friction brakes are so rarely used on my commute that I tend to give them a workout a few times just to keep them clean of rust. I do this especially on rainy days. I stand on them a few times when I know I have lots of room ahead and behind me to clean them up and test the friction system.

The Smart car also does an ABS (anti lock braking system) "self test" during initial drive away after you have started it. Typically happens when I get above ~20 km/h, but I don't think I've ever looked down to check the exact speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do you have the steering wheel paddles that allow switching between D-, D and D+? ooohhh D+:D If so, you get more recuperation in D+ without brakes, but in either case you need to apply some pressure to the brakes to get maximum recuperation. It's not easy to tell when the friction brakes start working.
You do need to use friction brakes to come to a full stop because of the simulated transmission creep. Or shift to Neutral to coast to a stop, but there is no recuperation in neutral.
No, I don't have the paddles to change the degree of recuperation. I understand that something has to grip the wheels at standstill, but is it possible to brake in a way so that the friction brakes only engage to prevent the creep?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
1. Low. Just let off the accelerator. Power gauge moves slightly to the left of center, around 10 o'clock.

2. Medium. Apply light pressure to brake. Power gauge moves to 8 o'clock.

3. High. Medium pressure to brake peddle. Power gauge pegged to 7 o'clock position.

4. With higher pressure on the brake, the power usage gauge stays pegged to the maximum, and on rare occasions I am able to (or I imagine I can) feel a transition to friction brakes.
I just realized that the power gauge never goes to the Off position when driving, which is at 8 o'clock. The highest recuperation level is at 9 o'clock. I understand that if the dial is at that setting during braking that recuperation is not enough and the friction brakes have to be enganged. Still wondering if at any level below this (i.e. between 9 and 12 o'clock on the dial), one can assume the friction brakes are not used.
 

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When you see the power needle pegged all the way to the 9:00 position, and you still need to apply more pedal pressure (stop faster), then you will be using the friction brakes. Between the 12:00 and 9:00 position you are using regen power only, when you are at some kind of speed.

At very low speeds, there is not much regen going on and you may be using the friction brake because the needle will not go to the 9:00 position below about 20mph or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
When you see the power needle pegged all the way to the 9:00 position, and you still need to apply more pedal pressure (stop faster), then you will be using the friction brakes. Between the 12:00 and 9:00 position you are using regen power only, when you are at some kind of speed.
That's what I thought. Cool. I like it even more.
 

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After asking for some opinions from forum members a few days ago in my Undecided post, I have today decided and signed the lease for a brand new 2014 Smart ED Cabrio.
Congratulations! It is a fun ride.

I'm not planning on getting a Level 2 charger just yet, and realize that it will be somewhat challenging on days that I need to do a little more driving than my commute, which is 54 miles round-trip.
I have a feeling you will get one soon :) It is nice to have the comfort of knowing that you can juice up twice as fast in a bind. Assuming you will own some EV beyond these three years, the $500 spent on an Level 2 EVSE may be a worthwhile expense.

But the more fundamental reason why I have an L2 EVSE at home is because I just want to leave the EVSE that came with the car always in the car. For emergency, I want an EVSE in the car. Taking it out and putting it back in the car every time I charge seemed like a pain.

  • Weak dome light. Missing light in rear.
You can get somewhat brighter dome LEDs. Just search this forum. You will find many. But they still aren't bright enough to light up the footwell area or the cargo area. If you are into DIY, here is a thread on what I did.

I was a little confused at first looking at the dash display when charging, since it says "Charge Now." To me that sounds like "not currently charging, you need to charge now," but everything was connected and the charger was blinking away in green.
Exactly what I thought at first. Badly written message. In fact, although I know what it means now, it alarms me every time I see that message :)

Other than that I'm quite the happy camper. I've never leased a car before, though I don't know if I would want to own a battery-powered car anyway. Too scared by it failing after the warranty expires and uncertain about resale value after the battery warranty or Battery Plus program would expire.
You sound just like how my wife and I felt when we leased about 3-4 months ago. With so many people leasing for the same reason, there is going to be a glut of ED lease returns in 3 years. I wonder if they are all going to end up at MB's Smart Car rental company, car2go.
 

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One addition: The puck also has the light sensor for auto-headlights.

I generally find that the auto-wipers do OK in light rain. I can tell you with certainty that they've been working on that over the model years, since the 2013 is vastly better at this than the 2008 I have. The 2008 seems to shift into "super-fast" mode way to readily, and is highly confused by fog on the glass. The 2013 is much better about transitions to/from intermittent to regular to fast.
 

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^ It would be very interesting to see a year-by-year schedule of all *subtle* model upgrades, such as the one mentioned above. A schedule of *subtle* model upgrades would begin where the annual "marketing hype" of new features leaves off.
 
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