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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm thinking of buying a used EV ForTwo. I've never owned a car before, and have always commuted by public transportation, but that's not such a great option anymore due to COVID. I live in downtown San Francisco where parking is a huge challenge. I'm thinking having a tiny car will make it easier. 99% of my trips are less than fifteen miles so I don't think the range will be an issue. I live in an apartment building so I won't be able to charge it at home. Does anyone have experience charging solely at public charging stations? Thoughts on owning a smart car in San Francisco?
 

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First thing I would check is where the nearest place to charge would be to your home or work. Since charging takes a while the places you spend the most time would be the most convenient to leave the car to charge. The next would be to find out the feasibility of leaving the car there while you are home or at work. Like how much does it cost to charge at those locations, including cost to park. How long the car can be left without any type of parking rate hike and whether you can go pick it up/move it in that time frame. My wife has a Honda Clarity PHEV and we went to one of her work places. She noted that since the charging is on the third floor and she's there in the evening she usually "cheats" and will park on the first floor near the entrance vs having to walk far in the dark. It has a 4 hr posted limit so that depending on how long one is there they may need to move it. The local mall has a 2 hr time "limit" after which the ChargePoint station will tag on an extra $3.00 "penalty" onto your fee. In that case moving before two hours may be inconvenient. I'm afraid each charging location has different pricing structures. Some have been up to $0.41 per kW. Our at home night rate is is $0.13 per kW as comparison. Some have a flat per plug in fee plus per kW cost.

Some things to consider. Hope you find a way to make it work for you.

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tl;dr: If you have public charging a short walk from home, consider it. Otherwise, I'd pass.

Longer:
I daily drive a LEAF (or did daily before COVID anyway) and charge mostly at work. I can charge at home, but it's slightly inconvenient so I have probably charged the car at home only once or twice per year. In your equivalent situation, that would be OK for me as I'd just find a way to charge those rare times someplace else. During COVID, I mostly charge at the supermarket. 90 minutes of charging gets me about 30-35 miles of range added, which is about what I drive in a week now, so it works out OK.

If you don't have another car, don't have charging at home, and don't have it at work (including not having charging a convenient walking distance from either of those places), I would probably not be happy with an all-electric car. We have a second ICE car, which is what lets 30-35 miles a week on the electric be feasible.
 

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I live in Oakland and visit friends in SF often. It is a huge advantage to have a smartcar. I can park in the Mission easily. There are many parking spots that only a smartcar or a motorcycle fit in. I'm lucky in that I can charge at home and at work. Folks above have good answers about charging, but parking is a dream.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you don't have another car, don't have charging at home, and don't have it at work (including not having charging a convenient walking distance from either of those places), I would probably not be happy with an all-electric car. We have a second ICE car, which is what lets 30-35 miles a week on the electric be feasible.
Looking on PlugShare, there are many public charging stations within walking easy distance of home. It's really hard to compare them and try to figure out if any of them would actually be convenient and affordable. Like, there's this "MGK Style" place showing up on PlugShare within walking distance. It says free parking and free charging. I googled it and it's a "fashion styling house" and not a place to park. Is there a better website I should be looking at to find the best public chargers?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I live in Oakland and visit friends in SF often. It is a huge advantage to have a smartcar. I can park in the Mission easily. There are many parking spots that only a smartcar or a motorcycle fit in. I'm lucky in that I can charge at home and at work. Folks above have good answers about charging, but parking is a dream.
That's exactly what I'm thinking. Have you ever charged at a public charging station in San Francisco? I'm having trouble figuring out where I'll be able to charge. There are all different kinds of charging stations and it's unclear to me if a smart car can be charged at any of them or if it needs a specific kind of plug. Also, how long it will take and how much it will cost. I've been having trouble finding this information so any insight you can provide is much appreciated.
 

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Plug share is very good. I searched "MGK Style" and believe I found the station. When you click on it you get more details. It is a ChargePoint station. ChargePoint has it's own app. Let me see if I recall my wife's login I can verify if there's a fee/cost...

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So regarding how long it will take. I believe on a good day the smart has 80 mi of range. The station shows 20 mi/hr so roughly 4 hrs from (almost) empty. It slows down as the battery fills so accommodate for that some...

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COVID too, will pass. One more year and you can hopefully go back to using safe and restored public transit in SF. It has gotta be far more convenient than a car in the center of the city.
 

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Great idea to get used Smart ED, but do not expect 80 miles range in hills around SanFran. My 2014 BMW I3 has range about 72 miles on nice day w/o doing hills in Denver metro area. To my knowledge 451 model of ED had no fast charging... level3. With I3 level3 one can get 80% capacity from ~20% remaining capacity in 15/20 minutes. My Smart ED was using level2 charging at work or home... half time compare to 120V / level1. Got me TurboCord charger that worked fine on both EVs. Investigate all possible places to charge EVs. Sometimes stations are busted, sometimes blocked by ICE... need to have several plans for charging your vehicle.
 

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Had both 2011 Smart Pure ICE & 2014 Smart ED / leased car both model 451. Both were great to park, but ED was faster, no shifting slow response, had gear-box no transmission like ICE. Maintenance on ED was very simple, viper blades, tires, cabin filter. There is some filter on HV battery pack that needs replacement... dealer service required.
 

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Had both 2011 Smart Pure ICE & 2014 Smart ED / leased car both model 451. Both were great to park, but ED was faster, no shifting slow response, had gear-box no transmission like ICE. Maintenance on ED was very simple, viper blades, tires, cabin filter. There is some filter on HV battery pack that needs replacement... dealer service required.
The battery pack has a dessicant cartridge that needs changing or (cheaper) refilling every two years. It is a very easy DIY job.
 

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People can replace the desiccant cartridge on their own once they acquire the proper tool. Some even buy desiccant beads and just replace those for even more savings. But that's awesome to share your service experience thank you!

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People can replace the desiccant cartridge on their own once they acquire the proper tool. Some even buy desiccant beads and just replace those for even more savings. But that's awesome to share your service experience thank you!

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The only tools needed are just a 9/16' or 14mm head hex bolt and a vice grips or pliers.

It beats replacing the front hub/bearing assemblies and ball joints in an older Subaru Outback used in the rust belt. What a PIA!
 

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The only tools needed are just a 9/16' or 14mm head hex bolt and a vice grips or pliers.

It beats replacing the front hub/bearing assemblies and ball joints in an older Subaru Outback used in the rust belt. What a PIA!
Aye, must have been posting at the exact same time but you were faster. I know at least MB DNA had some issue with this and ended up having to buy a large one with enough teeth to grip his properly. The name eludes me at 5 in the morning, was it torx T-70 or T-90?...

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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While there are workarounds, T-90 is the proper TORX for desiccant R & R.

Pity the fool (me) who follows the smart Center GORILLA who used a pneumatic wrench to “tighten” that PLASTIC cartridge!
 

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Brabus version of ED? With ICE/ 451 Brabus model, seen one of these recently at Mini dealer, Loveland CO. These had wider wheels/rims, center exhaust, front spoiler & fog lamps, side sticker... missing something? With ED expecting 3-spoke steering wheel w/paddle shifters for regent control & better wheels.
 

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While there are workarounds, T-90 is the proper TORX for desiccant R & R.

Pity the fool (me) who follows the smart Center GORILLA who used a pneumatic wrench to “tighten” that PLASTIC cartridge!
Seriously? An impact wrench to tighten that plastic part?

I'm a lifelong DIYer, but I am getting this impression that younger mechanics will use air tools just becasue they are too sedentary to turn a wrench by hand.
 
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