Smart Car of America Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m still overthinking whether to join the ranks of the ED club. The MB dealer where I live, who used to handle Smart’s, no longer wants anything to do with them. I know eventually, because that is me, an electrical gremlin will rear it’s head and I’ll be needing repairs. How do you find repair shops that work on EV’s? There is a shop that advertises hybrid repair, but I’m not sure that would be the same animal. Thanks
 

·
Super Moderator
MY08 cabrio MY09 Brabus MY21 Bolt
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
I’m still overthinking whether to join the ranks of the ED club. The MB dealer where I live, who used to handle Smart’s, no longer wants anything to do with them.
Bigbusdriver, welcome to SCoA.

We should first ask you a few questions. Where are you located? Have you ever owned a smart? Would it be your only vehicle? What attracted you to smart ED?

My caution for a newbie in the EV movement - if you intend to buy a “niche” Electric Vehicle (ED) don’t spend more than you can afford to lose!

It was a low volume vehicle whose first 3 years were likely spent on a lease. At lease end most went to auction and ended up sold by resellers who knew nothing about the car (or EV’s) to buyers who knew even less, a recipe for disaster!

That being said, if you can find a one owner with service records, smart ED can be an affordable and FUN daily driver if 68ish miles daily fits your needs. Although newer and more expensive, the 453 may have BMS improvements over the 451 making it less likely to have 12V/HV issues?

Lots of experience on The Forum and even more opinions. Let’s see where we can help you make that “ED club” decision?

Do you drive a BIG bus?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bigbusdriver, welcome to SCoA.

We should first ask you a few questions. Where are you located? Have you ever owned a smart? Would it be your only vehicle? What attracted you to smart ED?

My caution for a newbie in the EV movement - if you intend to buy a “niche” Electric Vehicle (ED) don’t spend more than you can afford to lose!

It was a low volume vehicle whose first 3 years were likely spent on a lease. At lease end most went to auction and ended up sold by resellers who knew nothing about the car (or EV’s) to buyers who knew even less, a recipe for disaster!

That being said, if you can find a one owner with service records, smart ED can be an affordable and FUN daily driver if 68ish miles daily fits your needs. Although newer and more expensive, the 453 may have BMS improvements over the 451 making it less likely to have 12V/HV issues?

Lots of experience on The Forum and even more opinions. Let’s see where we can help you make that “ED club” decision?

Do you drive a BIG bus?
Thanks for the reply
I live in Charlotte, where the MB Smart dealership really didn't want anything to do with the vehicle when they were a dealership, and they REALLY don't want anything to do with the now. I have posted a couple other times, and have graciously received very informative replies concerning the vehicle. I have never owned a Smart, although I seriously looked at them, and test drove a couple of times. I just couldn't get past the transmission. I am going into this with the idea that as a second vehicle it fits the needs for a run around car, and realizing, as they all are, depreciating assets. Some more than others. I have found some in VA and MD for sale at MB, prior Smart dealerships, with what appears to be good Carfax records. I am really shying away from resellers for the reasons you stated. That was quite the long winded response, but it is my nature to over think everything. Just ask my wife:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Good questions Bigbusdriver. It's not a clear cut decision. EV problems are rare, but in the case of the smart most seem to involve some ridiculously expensive battery replacement or something, only available from Mercedes Benz. But you have to think about the pros and cons:

PRO:
  • Maintenance - replace an easily accessible "desiccant cartridge" once a year, or dry it out and re-use it. That's it for EV-related maintenance.
  • Replace the 12-volt battery before it dies (every 4-5 years?). Available at most parts stores.
  • Brakes, wipers, shocks, tires, etc. could be fixed by any mechanic. Nothing special here.
  • None of the issues that plague gas powered cars (just look in the other smart forums).

CON:
  • If you do have an EV-related failure, the cost to fix may exceed the car's value.
  • I'm sure some M-B dealers will still work on smarts (mine does here in Cary, NC). There are some dealers who specialized in smarts and sold a lot of them. But figure on $800 each way to have your car shipped there (tons of people offer car transport services).

But in reading this forum for a couple of years the only killer issue is that main battery failure.

My own 2013 is trouble free and I'm sure the vast majority of others are as well. So you wind up with "MB DNA"s suggestion that you spend no more than you are prepared to lose?
 

·
Super Moderator
MY08 cabrio MY09 Brabus MY21 Bolt
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
I live in Charlotte, where the MB Smart dealership really didn't want anything to do with the vehicle when they were a dealership, and they REALLY don't want anything to do with the now.
Interesting, I too live in Charlotte and have been a smart owner since 2008. We recently sold our ED after 5 AWESOME years so I know the challenges with the local M-B dealer. Note, still have 2 smarts but both are ICE.

MY15 ED was replaced with a MY21 Chevy Bolt so still electrified!

That being said, should you find something locally I’d be happy to help you “overthink” an ED purchase.
 

·
Super Moderator
MY08 cabrio MY09 Brabus MY21 Bolt
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
I live in Charlotte, where the MB Smart dealership really didn't want anything to do with the vehicle when they were a dealership, and they REALLY don't want anything to do with the now.
Interesting, I too live in Charlotte and have been a smart owner since 2008. We recently sold our ED after 5 AWESOME years so I know the challenges with the local M-B dealer. Note, still have 2 smarts but both are ICE.

MY15 ED was replaced with a MY21 Chevy Bolt so still electrified!

That being said, should you find something locally I’d be happy to help you “overthink” an ED purchase.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,128 Posts
Pickup the July/August Car and Driver‘s EV of the Year edition. All about EV’s.

67064
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the recommendation. I downloaded the issue from the library a couple of days ago and have been working my way through the issue. Really a lot of good information. A little disappointed the Bolt wasn't included, as I would like to have seen how it compared. The first Kiplinger Letter I received this month had a large section on the auto industry, with a discussion about electric powertrains. Interesting developments in the EV world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Many of us (humans) do stupid things from time to time, and the more money we have, the more expensive stupid things we do - like buying boats and airplanes and hot tubs - all items that soon stop being used and sit around and rot until their value decreases so much we wonder why we kept it so long.

Anyway, I digress (slightly). So I've got a 2017 ED 453 and love it. I've had people call it an "orphaned" car due to the things BigBusDriver and others mentioned about Mercedes not wanting anything to do with them anymore. But I said to myself - who cares, I like the car. I hope it lasts a long time, but I understand the HV battery could die tomorrow and I'm left with a big chunk of low-value metal and plastic. I also have a SUV for travel with more than two people, long distance, or large loads. But despite the size and range constraints, we drive the Smart most of the time. I've gotten used to where many of the charging stations are and more comfortable with range.

Just went from home to Epcot (Disney) and back, starting with 90% charge, and after a pitstop for lunch, got home with 20%. There are charging stations at Epcot (but were occupied) and where we had lunch (they were across the street in a parking garage and we didn't want to cross the street/also had time constraints). After during the car for several years, I was comfortable with how far we could go.

However, with all the great EV choices out there, at this point, I think you have to really like the Smart. The other cars are IN production and parts will be available for years, and local dealers will work on them. But with our SUV (Honda Pilot) and the places we drive, the Smart fits perfectly into our family's needs.

BTW hallcp, my eyes POPPED (as in "oh crap") when you said all you have to do is service the desiccant. I don't know anything about that. Please tell me about that, what's involved and where to find out more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OMG. Too funny about the Bolt. I had just posted that when I read an article about the claimed issue. Probably best they were not in the evaluations😩
 

·
Super Moderator
MY08 cabrio MY09 Brabus MY21 Bolt
Joined
·
8,030 Posts
Thus far Bolts for MY19 and earlier seem to potentially have issues, some after the software update had been applied.

NHTSA has documented 9 Bolt fires from the MY17 - 19 run. Not sure how that “experience” compares with a similar run of ICE vehicles?

Of course even one fire is too many.

Recall that some of our Forum members had their ICE 451’s catch fire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is it the batteries which are causing the issue (I would assume) on the Bolt, or is there a different component, or do they know? I remember when looking for our Mini, the early 2000's were having a spontaneous combustion issue. IIRC they determined it to be the power swearing pump, which is electric. We were living in Columbus, Ohio when one actually caught fire in the dealership repair facility. OOPS.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
MY15 ED was replaced with a MY21 Chevy Bolt so still electrified!
Thank you for saying NO to to the Musk Cult! In my area, the only EV I am seeing now (besides my own Smart ED - the only one in all Pennsylvania outside of maybe Philly) are Teslas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Small EVs like Smart_ED or Chevy_Spark, both of which I enjoy using, complement the Teslas quite well. Who really wants to drive his ModelS 20 miles to shop when he just got back from a 1500 mile trip in the Tesla.

The SmartED is similar to the Tesla Roadster in having been abandoned for the most part by the manufacturer or dealerships. Luckily the Roadster has two good 3rd party repair shops who sprang up from ownership. Unfortunately in US/CA no one has yet to do so for the SmartEVs. We are left to do the best we can and keep our fingers crossed that our little fun cars keep running.
--
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Small EVs like Smart_ED or Chevy_Spark, both of which I enjoy using, complement the Teslas quite well. Who really wants to drive his ModelS 20 miles to shop when he just got back from a 1500 mile trip in the Tesla.
--
I will consider Tesla when they stop their project of monopolizing the charging infrastructure in the USA with their Tesla-only charging standard. My wife was an an outlying area looking for a place to charge but there were nothing but Tesla chargers. It is as if Ford made a deal with Rockefeller that only Model T's can refueled at gas stations.
Everywhere outside the US, Tesla was made to adopt the Type 2/combo charging without much complaint. They can do this in the US too - or will Musk scream S----ism! S---ism!? The superchargers can continue to be free for Teslas, and a per KwH charge for other EV's.
 

·
Registered
2017 453 Passion ED/EQ
Joined
·
361 Posts
BTW hallcp, my eyes POPPED (as in "oh crap") when you said all you have to do is service the desiccant. I don't know anything about that. Please tell me about that, what's involved and where to find out more.
Driverdan - I hope you have found out about how to change the desiccant. It's the air dryer beads found in small pouches many pill packets and small electronic packages- you know- the "do not eat" stuff. Tons of info here on how it should be changed every two years or 40000 km out of the main battery container. Use the search community window with the word "desiccant" - ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Tesla-only charging standard [Yinzer]
Europe is 240vac (no 120vac) so Teslas shipped there required a chargeport re-design, so Tesla incorporated the CCS style plug that was first developed mid-season 2014.

When the first ModelS were produced in 2012 there existed NO such thing as a "SuperCharger". When I bought my 2012 the only plan was to use the 120/240vac charge cord that came with the car and plug it into my dryer outlet at home. So this meant you could drive 250 miles max and then plug in the 'cord' for an overnight recharge so you could drive another 250 miles max. So what this meant for me was I could drive to Walmart/etc 90 miles, do shopping & business and drive 90 miles back home on what was left in the battery. So it was a 'local car' by definition during 2013 & 2014.

The first SuperCharger in the Rocky Mt area was built in Silverthorne, CO some 150 miles away. This enabled trips to Denver, some 260 miles away by stopping twice at the SC. Slowly Tesla built more SCs soon creating a path across to New York State which I immediately took. Other EV makers were asked to help expand the SC Network for obvious reasons but specifically so a standard universal PLUG could be established. Rather shockingly the reaction was negative; the typical reaction was like: "EVs are local cars and our customers don't need any sort of network."

You may find this hard to believe what with all the development since then but it was a continuing disappointment to see the rest of the EV industry refusing to participate in any way to help create a charging network. So Tesla Motors which was a tiny company in 2014 proceeded on its own to design and expand its network. The 3rd party networks similarly received NO help from the manufacturers either and the charge stations they built were next to useless by Tesla standards, good for emergencies only. Lately the EVAmerica etc Court-Ordered network has proven to be a dismal failure, a technological waste-of-space that should have joined the Tesla network from the start. Tesla could have used the investment for it's recent (massive) expansion world-wide, but no such luck.

Unfair to refer to the Tesla SuperCharging network as a monopoly. Still the only EV maker to show interest to date has been Optera but who knows when they will market any vehicles.
VR
--
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Europe is 240vac (no 120vac) so Teslas shipped there required a chargeport re-design, so Tesla incorporated the CCS style plug that was first developed mid-season 2014.

When the first ModelS were produced in 2012 there existed NO such thing as a "SuperCharger". When I bought my 2012 the only plan was to use the 120/240vac charge cord that came with the car and plug it into my dryer outlet at home. So this meant you could drive 250 miles max and then plug in the 'cord' for an overnight recharge so you could drive another 250 miles max. So what this meant for me was I could drive to Walmart/etc 90 miles, do shopping & business and drive 90 miles back home on what was left in the battery. So it was a 'local car' by definition during 2013 & 2014.

The first SuperCharger in the Rocky Mt area was built in Silverthorne, CO some 150 miles away. This enabled trips to Denver, some 260 miles away by stopping twice at the SC. Slowly Tesla built more SCs soon creating a path across to New York State which I immediately took. Other EV makers were asked to help expand the SC Network for obvious reasons but specifically so a standard universal PLUG could be established. Rather shockingly the reaction was negative; the typical reaction was like: "EVs are local cars and our customers don't need any sort of network."

You may find this hard to believe what with all the development since then but it was a continuing disappointment to see the rest of the EV industry refusing to participate in any way to help create a charging network. So Tesla Motors which was a tiny company in 2014 proceeded on its own to design and expand its network. The 3rd party networks similarly received NO help from the manufacturers either and the charge stations they built were next to useless by Tesla standards, good for emergencies only. Lately the EVAmerica etc Court-Ordered network has proven to be a dismal failure, a technological waste-of-space that should have joined the Tesla network from the start. Tesla could have used the investment for it's recent (massive) expansion world-wide, but no such luck.

Unfair to refer to the Tesla SuperCharging network as a monopoly. Still the only EV maker to show interest to date has been Optera but who knows when they will market any vehicles.
VR
--
Why didn't Tesla adopt the already existing SAE J1772/combo standard then? Tesla adopted the IEC type 2 standard becasue as of 2014, they were required to do so by law. Obviously, they had in mind a "Tesla-only" charging network that excluded other manufacturers - but EU laws stopped them.

The charging network, obviously, should be totally separated from the manufacturers - the way gasoline fuel is. We need a law requiring use of the established standard like Europe has had since 2014. Obviously, there is a catch 22 (build it and they will come) problem with this which is only going to be solved by government funding to kick-start a charging network totally independent of the manufacturers.

And since we are talking about fast DC charging, 120/240 is irrelelvant. All fast DC chargers use 3-phase 480 volt (US) 400 volt (Europe) volt AC to power them.

And also, do Teslas also have EVSE-free charging i.e. jsut plug a live 240 volt cord - NEMA14-50 on one end, Tesla plug on the other end? That seems marginal from a safety standpoint.

Of course I can buy a "Tesla tap" adapter (I sure wish someone would publish the information needed to build one myself for much cheaper) for Tesla destination EVSE's - something met with a degree of hostility from Tesla owners - even though even though they are provided with adapters for J1772 EVSE's.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
29,300 Posts
Why didn't Tesla adopt the already existing SAE J1772/combo standard then? Tesla adopted the IEC type 2 standard becasue as of 2014, they were required to do so by law. Obviously, they had in mind a "Tesla-only" charging network that excluded other manufacturers - but EU laws stopped them.

The charging network, obviously, should be totally separated from the manufacturers - the way gasoline fuel is. We need a law requiring use of the established standard like Europe has had since 2014. Obviously, there is a catch 22 (build it and they will come) problem with this which is only going to be solved by government funding to kick-start a charging network totally independent of the manufacturers.

And since we are talking about fast DC charging, 120/240 is irrelelvant. All fast DC chargers use 3-phase 480 volt (US) 400 volt (Europe) volt AC to power them.

And also, do Teslas also have EVSE-free charging i.e. jsut plug a live 240 volt cord - NEMA14-50 on one end, Tesla plug on the other end? That seems marginal from a safety standpoint.

Of course I can buy a "Tesla tap" adapter (I sure wish someone would publish the information needed to build one myself for much cheaper) for Tesla destination EVSE's - something met with a degree of hostility from Tesla owners - even though even though they are provided with adapters for J1772 EVSE's.
FWIW, Tesla just announced they will open the Supercharger network to other EVs later this year... :)
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top