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Discussion Starter #1
I'm shopping for a used EV, and took a test drive of a 2014 Smart ED a few days ago.

I realize that every car feels a little different, but I'm hoping some other Smart ED drivers can help me understand if I'm seeing expected behavior or unusual behavior.

The accelerator seems to have a "boost" switch somewhere about 3/4 through the travel, that you can physically feel clicking when you press down. The car definitely accelerates harder when I stomp on the pedal past that point.

I've read about a "boost mode" in the Electric Drive, but there's nothing in the Owner's Manual that I see about it. Is this a normal experience ?

The brakes feel "mushy" on this car. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I was really fond of the smoothly blended braking on my Ford Focus Electric.

How would you characterize the braking on your ED ?
 

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I have a 453 so this may not equate to the model you are looking at, I have not noticed anything particular about the accelerator but I ride fairly gentle. The brakes seem quite stout when I use them but then again I use far more engine braking that actual brake pedal when driving the Smart.
 

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I'm shopping for a used EV, and took a test drive of a 2014 Smart ED a few days ago.

I realize that every car feels a little different, but I'm hoping some other Smart ED drivers can help me understand if I'm seeing expected behavior or unusual behavior.

The accelerator seems to have a "boost" switch somewhere about 3/4 through the travel, that you can physically feel clicking when you press down. The car definitely accelerates harder when I stomp on the pedal past that point.

I've read about a "boost mode" in the Electric Drive, but there's nothing in the Owner's Manual that I see about it. Is this a normal experience ?

The brakes feel "mushy" on this car. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I was really fond of the smoothly blended braking on my Ford Focus Electric.

How would you characterize the braking on your ED ?
The brake pedal feel of the smart 451 is different than most vehicles, primarily due to the fact that the pedal is mounted to the floor. It isn't a hanging pedal like it is in your Ford Focus, and most other vehicles on the road. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the brake pedal location, however it just takes a little time to adjust to for most people. Eventually it becomes second nature and it isn't even noticeable. In the long run, you may even appreciate the large brake pedal ("target") of the smart 451 because it is in a more prominent position when compared with the accelerator pedal.

smart's engineers changed to a more traditional brake pedal in the latest generation (453).
 

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I haven't noticed any "boost" on mine in the two years I've had them. It's very quick off the line and keeps a pretty steady acceleration up to whatever speed you are after. Never noticed any mushiness to my brakes. Brake fluid is supposed to be a two year service item as is the desiccant filter.

I"m assuming that 2014 has a little bit of warranty left. Not sure what the asking price is nor do I know what your tax situation is, but there are some brand new 2015's out there that can be had for around the $5000 mark if you are eligible for the full $7500 federal tax credit and they come with a full four year warranty.

Len
2014 EV Coupe 12,700 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 2,100 miles
 

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I haven't noticed any "boost" on mine in the two years I've had them. It's very quick off the line and keeps a pretty steady acceleration up to whatever speed you are after.
The Smart ED has plenty of acceleration without it (especially without having any hills out your way) but, if you press the pedal down to what feels like all the way down, then press a little harder, you will feel it actuate a switch. This is the "boost" mode.

The only time I've had to use it was trying to maintain 70-75 mph up a relatively steep hill on the West Parkway coming back from the airport (why do Pittsburghers call expressways "parkways"?). It was an awkward boost to 75, release boost and slow down to 65, boost to 75, slow down to 65....
 

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You can tell when you've actuated that temporary boost mode because your power output meter will go to 100%. You get that level of power for up to two minutes, depending on your current state of charge.

Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the input on the boost switch ! Sounds like it's software limited to avoid overheat or high discharge.

I'm going to test drive another Smart ED (somebody nabbed the red one !) and will keep an eye on the power output meter. I was previously just going on city streets (and laughing because I know my Focus Electric required a K-turn for one specific maneuver, and still whacked the curb) and will get it up onto the local Interstate for a short run.

Knowing better about the mounting and pivot geometry of the brake pedal will also help me understand it, and I'll be sure to check the brake fluid myself. I've got an inquiry in with the local MB/Smart dealer to see if they can do a pre-purchase examination for me.

My other requirement is that the vehicle be able to fit a Montague folding bike (full size wheels with a folding frame) in the hatch. No good method except to go check, so my bike is at the office today !
 

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My other requirement is that the vehicle be able to fit a Montague folding bike (full size wheels with a folding frame) in the hatch. No good method except to go check, so my bike is at the office today !

Shouldn't be a problem. But if it is it's still not a deal breaker. Just buy a curt hitch and put it on the rear. I have a Kuat NV rack that I use to haul both sets of bikes, road and mtn. all over.

Good luck with your looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the input ! I got to test drive another FourTwo ED this afternoon, and had my co-worker who drives rally cars (but commutes in a LEAF) give me his opinion as well. He couldn't stop laughing at the fact that we could turn circles within our driveway.

The Montague Navigator bike just *barely* doesn't fit in the hatch; I'd have to remove the handlebars entirely. A CURT hitch will probably be in my future.

I think this particular vehicle was left un-charged for a while; a foam block that holds the emergency inflator was in the trunk, and I think it belongs under the passenger foot, so my guess is that they needed access to charge the 12V battery. The status indicator reminded me that the car wants scheduled maintenance "-15 days" ago, so my guess is that's when the battery was recharged and the system was re-started. I will definitely ask the local Mercedes dealer if they can do a pre-purchase examination.

With the mechanism of the brake pedal and the accelerator in mind, and being able to watch the power meter out of the corner of my eye while feeling the brakes, I feel a lot better about the controls.

No cruise control or paddle shifters on this one, though. Couldn't figure out how to turn on the fog lights manually either. And boy, that's a lot of windshield space to give up to a rain sensor just so you don't have to fiddle with an intermittent wiper speed adjustment.

A plastic roof.... plastic ? ROOF ? I admit it was a gorgeous October day and it was pretty neat to slide back the shade and glance up at the oak leaves.
 

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...not to mention the eventual sparkle of a million microcracks!
Hopefully not. But, it can be replaced as well. In my other vehicles that originally came with glass moonroofs, I would be willing to replace the glass for the weight savings provided by a polycarbonate one.
 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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MY15 ED, three years in and the NEW & improved Makrolon Polycarbonate roof is beginning to sparkle (craze). Sad...
 

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I said "like" but it's not really Schädenfreude, it is a pain.

And I share your pain. My Mercedes B 200 has a polycarbonate opening lamella sunroof and the panels were all changed under warranty when the car was under extended warranty. And.....they crazed faster than the originals. Ah well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I visited the service department of the MB dealership on Saturday and it was... unpleasant. They will not get any 2018 Smart vehicles to sell because Washington is not a CARB ZEV mandate state, so maybe they are just sour about spending money and time to get certified to service the small fleet of gas and electric Smarts in Seattle. They had a small selection of used gasoline Smarts to sell, but no EDs.

The service advisor I corresponded with told me that they only do a go/no-go test on the battery, which is basically "does it appear to charge when you plug it in ?". He discouraged me (maybe wisely) to not buy a car if it looks like it's been badly discharged, as that would not be covered under warranty as "abuse".

I can't reconcile their statements about their special training and equipment to work on high voltage battery systems with their claim to not be able to diagnose those same high voltage systems in detail.

So I'll restrict my question to a technical one: has anyone had a Smart service center do a detailed examination of their battery that would tell you its capacity ?
 

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I visited the service department of the MB dealership on Saturday and it was... unpleasant. They will not get any 2018 Smart vehicles to sell because Washington is not a CARB ZEV mandate state, so maybe they are just sour about spending money and time to get certified to service the small fleet of gas and electric Smarts in Seattle.
This is somewhat disconcerting? Was this smart Center previously committed to selling ED? Does this mean that ultimately we could have new ED "sales" in only 10 of the 50 states?

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program is a California state regulation that requires automakers to sell electric cars and trucks in California and 9 states on the east coast (Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont).
 

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Please don't read too much into my record of the conversation; I was bewildered by how unhelpful the service advisor was being, and when she started to explain "you see, there's this California law...", I thanked her and left. I was able to get in touch with the service advisor whose technicians *do* work on the HV battery systems by e-mail, but he downplayed their technical abilities, which leaves me unsatisfied.

According to a recent thread in the Community section, there will be just 26 dealers in the USA who will sell the 453 EDs going forward. 13 of them are in CARB ZEV mandate states, while 13 are not, and 3 small ZEV states (CT,VT,RI) get no Smart dealer.

Washington State never adopted the CARB ZEV mandate, basically because legislators correctly predicted that EVs would sell well here without the ZEV requirement.

I don't know if MB Seattle ever sold ED vehicles. They're a Smart ED certified service center, so I would be surprised if they took the trouble to do that initially just so they could service a trickle of ED's that migrate north.

I'm just trying to figure out what kind of magic words I need to say to a Smart service advisor to get them to run the same diagnostics on the BMS that they would if a BAP customer came in complaining of diminished range, so I can get an idea of what the battery capacity is on this vehicle.

If it was a LEAF, I'd hook up LEAF Spy Pro and be done with it. But it's not, so I've come to this community looking for help.
 

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Please don't read too much into my record of the conversation; I was bewildered by how unhelpful the service advisor was being, and when she started to explain "you see, there's this California law...", I thanked her and left. I was able to get in touch with the service advisor whose technicians *do* work on the HV battery systems by e-mail, but he downplayed their technical abilities, which leaves me unsatisfied.

According to a recent thread in the Community section, there will be just 26 dealers in the USA who will sell the 453 EDs going forward. 13 of them are in CARB ZEV mandate states, while 13 are not, and 3 small ZEV states (CT,VT,RI) get no Smart dealer.

Washington State never adopted the CARB ZEV mandate, basically because legislators correctly predicted that EVs would sell well here without the ZEV requirement.

I don't know if MB Seattle ever sold ED vehicles. They're a Smart ED certified service center, so I would be surprised if they took the trouble to do that initially just so they could service a trickle of ED's that migrate north.

I'm just trying to figure out what kind of magic words I need to say to a Smart service advisor to get them to run the same diagnostics on the BMS that they would if a BAP customer came in complaining of diminished range, so I can get an idea of what the battery capacity is on this vehicle.

If it was a LEAF, I'd hook up LEAF Spy Pro and be done with it. But it's not, so I've come to this community looking for help.
Ken,

This is all very interesting and applicable information for me, as I purchased my never-titled 2015 451 ED this past June from a California dealer and intended to have it serviced, if needed, at MB Seattle. I have only one complaint so far, a rattle coming from the panoramic roof shade, which hasn't been enough reason for me to take it in. That and the originating dealer did an annual service before shipping the car to me so I thought my first visit to them would be next summer.

Previous threads here have mentioned that it is possible to get a detailed battery inspection report from the dealer and I was going to press for one when the time came. It appears that may not be possible now, which is disappointing. There is the build-it-yourself arduino unit that I'll probably look more seriously at now.

Personally for my wife and I, we got our new ED at such a low cost that it would fully pay for itself prior to the warranty running out. If it failed expensively after that point, we'd just scrap it. It looks like we'll be driving it 10-12k miles per year so and expect to be saving about 25 cents per mile over our current vehicles and with our smart's actual cost to us being about $6600, it was a no-brainer to go that route, especially as it served as our introduction into the electric vehicle community.

We drive it all around the Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond/Kirkland metro area, and we love it. So easy to park and more than roomy enough for our frequent Costco shopping trips. Never have to worry about short trips being hard on the engine, and never have to worry about a compact parking space being too small. The range hasn't been an issue for us. During the summer, my wife regularly got 80+ miles on a full charge in just city driving, and for the months I commuted with it on primarily freeways, 40 miles would use about 70-80% of the charge and I'd be running at or very near the speed limiter for much of that time. Only once, when I took it to Lynnwood, then Seattle, and then home starting out on about 75% charge, was I really nervous about running out, but then there's a large number of charging stations all around the metro areas. If something were to happen to our smart today, we'd almost certainly replace it with another one despite the local dealership situation. I'd probably again go hunt down one of the few remaining, never-titled 451 ED's that are still around.

Good luck in your decision, and let me know if you'd like to get some seat time in a 451 ED to compare.
 
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