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I am very close to picking up a 15 electric drive fortwo for my wife. My only concern is regular maintenance and future repairs. For now, i'll have a year of warranty and i'll make the necessary trek to the dealer should I need it, but I pray I wont. But once the warranty is done, I likely wont be going or at least hoping to avoid. So that is why I came to ask.

Before I ask my questions. I'll say that, I have performed extensive repairs and modifications to ICE cars and restored a few bikes. So I am not a stranger to turning wrenches.

How hard are these cars to maintain, what scheduled maintenance do they need (i heard battery pack coolant), how difficult are repairs and should the battery pack go, can I ever source a replacement and swap it myself?

Thanks.
 

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Those are all very good questions. I 'm very much a DIY'er with regard to IC engine cars too and hoping to continue to do so with my ED as well.

Battery pack "coolant" (which in typical temperate climates is used more as a winter "warmant") is the same anti-freeze mixture as used in IC engine cars. It really does not ever need replacement considering that it is not exposed to anything like the temperatures of an IC engine.

The biggest impediment to maintenance is the seeming unavailability of a factory service manual. If we can get one of those, we can determine how maintainable the Smart ED will be. The most troubling issue regarding the batty pack is the potential issue of needing some kind of proprietary software access when removing or replacing the battery pack.
 

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Guys that I have seen with the Alldata subscription seem to show maintenance directions that look almost identical to the typical Mercedes WIS program. Also you've got the Evilution website that usually gets pretty good reviews.

As for routine maintenance, you can download the factory owners and maintenance manuals if they don't come with the car and one of us here in this forum can provide the factory maintenance sheets for routine services.

That all being said the routine maintenance on an electric is extremely simple and the fact that you are already a DIY kind of guy, you should not have a bit of trouble doing the routine jobs.

Len
2014 EV Coupe 15,000 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 5,000 miles
 

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We are not talking about routine maintenance, we are talking about a manual for doing all major and minor repairs - i.e. disassembly/assembly and troubleshooting instructions and diagrams for all components of the car - up to and including removal and replacement of the battery pack.

For example, for the second time.the A/C failed in my ED sometime over the winter. I'll get it repaired under warranty only one more time - then it will be up to me to fix it. I'll need a detailed manual to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Battery pack "coolant" (which in typical temperate climates is used more as a winter "warmant") is the same anti-freeze mixture as used in IC engine cars. It really does not ever need replacement considering that it is not exposed to anything like the temperatures of an IC engine.
Excellent! One less thing to concern my self with.

What about the desiccant or some kind of combination filter I read somewhere?

The biggest impediment to maintenance is the seeming unavailability of a factory service manual. If we can get one of those, we can determine how maintainable the Smart ED will be. The most troubling issue regarding the batty pack is the potential issue of needing some kind of proprietary software access when removing or replacing the battery pack.
This is the kind of stuff that has me worried. If the car is setup like a john deer tractor and I need software along with hardware repairs then I have a problem.

Given the secrecy or nonavailability of this information, at this time I am knowingly accepting that at some point this car will be a throw away.

Guys that I have seen with the Alldata subscription seem to show maintenance directions that look almost identical to the typical Mercedes WIS program. Also you've got the Evilution website that usually gets pretty good reviews.
What is Evilution?

We are not talking about routine maintenance, we are talking about a manual for doing all major and minor repairs - i.e. disassembly/assembly and troubleshooting instructions and diagrams for all components of the car - up to and including removal and replacement of the battery pack.

For example, for the second time.the A/C failed in my ED sometime over the winter. I'll get it repaired under warranty only one more time - then it will be up to me to fix it. I'll need a detailed manual to do that.
Yep, this is the kind of stuff that I worry about. With all the extra uncommon electronics to manage (I assume) the battery and motor, along with electric versions of normally vacuum driven accessories, I dont want to be a slave to a single dealer in my area.

Do these cars have electric driven AC compressors or do they run off the drive motor?
How is the brake master getting its vacuum boost? Separate vacuum pump or integrated?
Does it have power steering? Electric boosted hydraulic or drive by wire?
I am assuming for heat it has a toaster in the dash?
 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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I am very close to picking up a 15 electric drive fortwo for my wife. My only concern is regular maintenance and future repairs.
Welcome to SCoA and the brave new world of Electric Vehicles.

Your are wise to do your due diligence but regardless of marquee, EV ownership comes with more unknowns than knowns?

If you accept your previously owned smart 451 ED as a low cost "purpose built" NICHE vehicle with a range of 68 miles you will be fine.


Into 4th year of ED ownership and loving it!
 

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Evilution is awesome for ICE not much yet for ED.

Obviously, the ICE/ED sleds bear some similarities but drive train is definitely apples to oranges.
 

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Evilution is awesome for ICE not much yet for ED.

Obviously, the ICE/ED sleds bear some similarities but drive train is definitely apples to oranges.
Yeah, but at least regarding my A/C problem, (probably another failed condenser/heater air temp sensor) the systems are identical save for the compressor being powered by the HV pack instead of a belt from the engine - so I was able to get the info I needed.

Note that Evilution's author does seem to have, lets just say, an attitude about the ED:

https://www.evilution.co.uk/index.php?menu=info&mod=1062
 

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Len,

I was just about to put up that link to the MB service information document you put up in the sticky post above. It is a great conceptual overview of the ED's drivetrain power components, but it does not provide actual service information.

The most important information I'd like to have is how to bypass/replace the internal pyrofuse and any associated software resets needed to restore the battery pack in the event of a airbag or seat belt tensioner actuation. The idea that MB would design the car to render itself a total-loss brick from an otherwise reparable collision is a major flaw. I wonder if the 453 ED is designed similarity?
 

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www.smarttekinfo.com is the subscription site for all smart. Pretty much the smart equivalent to www.startekinfo.com for Mercedes.

$60, plus PDF Creator (PDF Forge) and a day’s worth in front of a computer and I can pretty much download a service manual for one vehicle specific for that VIN. You put all files in a folder and then you can search by topic title.

Unfortunately it is separate so I can’t just subscribe for a Mercedes and get access to smart, sadly. (Still have one of those to complete downloading).
 

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www.smarttekinfo.com is the subscription site for all smart...

$60, plus PDF Creator (PDF Forge) and a day’s worth in front of a computer and I can pretty much download a service manual for one vehicle specific for that VIN. You put all files in a folder and then you can search by topic title.
Have you actually done what you are describing? How many different files will there be?

I have used ALLDATAdiy for a couple cars, but ALLDATA seems to have stopped updating this affordable service for DIY'ers - no Smart service information in it at all.
 

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What about the desiccant or some kind of combination filter I read somewhere?
The desiccant is available from any MB parts seller. It's replacement every 2 years is trivial - easier than changing an air filter.

This is the kind of stuff that has me worried. If the car is setup like a john deer tractor and I need software along with hardware repairs then I have a problem.
We will probably be dependent on the Mercedes dealer's proprietary "Star" syatem for some software resetting chores to some extent

Given the secrecy or nonavailability of this information, at this time I am knowingly accepting that at some point this car will be a throw away.
The biggest concern I have is that in a crash that triggers an air bag or seat belt tensioner, an internal pyrofuse cuts the connection to the contactor relays in the battery pack. Which, becasue the dealers are required to treat the battery pack as a "black box" with "no serviceable parts inside", effectively totals the car (replacement battery packs are over $20,000). In the case of rollovers or collisions with the car while it is parked and charging, the pack is only software-disabled and in those cases it can be reset. Note that this design is strictly MB thing. Other EV's do not have such ovrly-draconian safety measures.


Do these cars have electric driven AC compressors or do they run off the drive motor?
How is the brake master getting its vacuum boost? Separate vacuum pump or integrated?
Does it have power steering? Electric boosted hydraulic or drive by wire?
I am assuming for heat it has a toaster in the dash?
The AC compressor is electric - powered by the high voltage DC from the traction pack. Otherwise, it is the same as IC engine Smart's AC.

The heater uses a PTC ceramic heater element which is also powered by high voltage from the traction pack. Yes, use of the heater in winter has a major impact on the car's range.

All the other accessories are 12-volt and are identical to the IC engine Smart - including a 12 volt battery mounted under the footrest area of the passenger side seat. The battery is charged with DC-DC converter in the car's motor control unit.

Vacuum for the power brakes comes from a vacuum pump mounted in the engine compartment. You will hear it periodically turn on for a few seconds upon startup and after using the brakes several times - it is the noisiest thing in the car. There are no other vacuum-actuated components in the car.

The technical overview manual in Sokolff's the "sticky" post will probably answer other question you might have.
 

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Have you actually done what you are describing? How many different files will there be?

I have used ALLDATAdiy for a couple cars, but ALLDATA seems to have stopped updating this affordable service for DIY'ers - no Smart service information in it at all.
I'll check how many files when I get home. It is tedious so I can't do it in one sitting!

Diagnostics is more with the star/xentry machine pulling diagnostics codes, then suggesting course of action. But all the procedures, ie. battery replacement, are there.

I have for my ex-gasser, including some retrofit instructions...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Welcome to SCoA and the brave new world of Electric Vehicles.

Your are wise to do your due diligence but regardless of marquee, EV ownership comes with more unknowns than knowns?

If you accept your previously owned smart 451 ED as a low cost "purpose built" NICHE vehicle with a range of 68 miles you will be fine.


Into 4th year of ED ownership and loving it!
Any issues?

Its for my wife, she drives 5 miles round trip to work. So the range doesnt worry me. Its plenty.

Have you actually done what you are describing? How many different files will there be?

I have used ALLDATAdiy for a couple cars, but ALLDATA seems to have stopped updating this affordable service for DIY'ers - no Smart service information in it at all.
If I end up picking one up we should halvsies on a sub and rip it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The most important information I'd like to have is how to bypass/replace the internal pyrofuse and any associated software resets needed to restore the battery pack in the event of a airbag or seat belt tensioner actuation. The idea that MB would design the car to render itself a total-loss brick from an otherwise reparable collision is a major flaw. I wonder if the 453 ED is designed similarity?
IMHO. I think if an airbag deploys it will be more expensive to fix the car then buy a new one.

Yeah, but at least regarding my A/C problem, (probably another failed condenser/heater air temp sensor) the systems are identical save for the compressor being powered by the HV pack instead of a belt from the engine - so I was able to get the info I needed.

Note that Evilution's author does seem to have, lets just say, an attitude about the ED:

https://www.evilution.co.uk/index.php?menu=info&mod=1062
Ha Ha, I read that. I'll forgive him though, I bet he just get inundated with emails from people that are looking for information. It's OK though.

How come your car keeps recurring with the same problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The biggest concern I have is that in a crash that triggers an air bag or seat belt tensioner, an internal pyrofuse cuts the connection to the contactor relays in the battery pack. Which, becasue the dealers are required to treat the battery pack as a "black box" with "no serviceable parts inside", effectively totals the car (replacement battery packs are over $20,000). In the case of rollovers or collisions with the car while it is parked and charging, the pack is only software-disabled and in those cases it can be reset. Note that this design is strictly MB thing. Other EV's do not have such ovrly-draconian safety measures.
Slightly confused here. If someone bumps the car a bit to hard while its parked, I have to tow it to MB to have it 'reset' or is there an option buried in the cars trip computer?
 

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Any issues?

Its for my wife, she drives 5 miles round trip to work. So the range doesnt worry me. Its plenty.
No issues, think of the ED motor as an "old school" Maytag.

There is a bit of a learning curve to get you beyond "range anxiety" and then it becomes a daily plug and play.

What's not to like about a full bodied temperature controlled electric go kart?
 
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