By on May 22, 2017

2017 smart fortwo cabrio electric drive (Euro spec image)

Will anyone notice? Mercedes-Benz certainly hopes so, as it recently choose to ditch gasoline powerplants altogether and make the Smart sub-brand an all-electric affair.

The automaker announced pricing and specifications for its 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive coupe and convertible today, billing the two-seater as one of the cheapest EVs you can buy. The droptop variant remains the only electric convertible you can get your hands on, should that be your thing.

While many scratch their heads and wonder why Smart continues to exist in North America, the automaker hopes to entice consumers with a lower starting price and added range.

Starting at $24,550 (including delivery) for the hardtop, the Fortwo Electric Drive offers more grunt than the previous model — 80 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque — for $1,200 less. Range has increased from a disappointing 68 miles to somewhere between 70 and 80 miles in regular driving — hardly the longest-legged athlete on the field. Still, with so small a profile, engineers have limited room in which to cram battery cells.

Trim levels include Pure, Passion and Prime — you’ll see those words written in lower case in the brochures — with the base trim not available on the convertible. The droptop keeps its 2016 after-delivery sticker of $28,750.

smart fortwo electric

For 2017, the Electric Drive twosome adds features like cruise control and a battery warranty, with an available Climate Package for northern buyers. That package includes heated seats and steering wheel, as well as added insulation.

The automaker boasts of improved charging times at 240-volt outlets. An 80-percent charge should now take 2.5 hours instead of the previous 4.5 hours — a helpful update considering the still-limited range.

While Mercedes-Benz touts the model as “one of the most affordable electric cars on the market,” the lure of a backseat looms large, as does greater range. This is a city car, no doubt, but for not much more you could get into a Nissan Leaf S or Ford Focus Electric. For less money, the Leaf remains one of the fastest-depreciating vehicles on the used market.

With an after-delivery sticker of $31,545, a 2017 Leaf S shaves off another $7,500 from its federal tax credit, bringing the price to $24,045. Currently, Nissan offers $4,000 cash back on the model, bringing its purchase price to just above $20,000. The Focus Electric’s $29,995 after-delivery MSRP falls to $18,245 after the tax credit and all available incentives (up to $11,750 of them!).

Each of those four-door models offers five-passenger room, considerable cargo room, and a three-figure driving range (though just barely). Still, at $17,050 after tax credit, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive does undercut those deals.

(Mitsubishi’s 2017 i-MiEV, which remains on the automaker’s Canadian sales site, has disappeared from the U.S. site. With six i-MiEVs sold in the U.S. in 2017, we’re going to count it out of the comparison. Mercedes-Benz might not.)

Smart remains an extremely niche badge in the U.S., though gasoline models, which will disappear this fall, have sold in the 300-unit range each month this year. In comparison, only 53 previous-generation Fortwo Electric Drives were sold between the beginning of the year and the end of April. A good number of new buyers will need to take note of the 2017 model’s changes for Smart to retain its already tiny customer base.

The 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive should appear for sale this summer.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz USA]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

22 Comments on “Freed from Gasoline, the 2017 Smart Fortwo Drops Its Price and Adds Range...”

  • avatar

    The problem with the “city car” thing is if you park on the street they won’t let you dangle a cord out of your apartment window to charge it, and if you can afford permanent garage space a Smart is probably the last car you would ever consider owning.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    My “low fuel” light came on the other day when my range had dropped to 50 miles.

    Just saying…

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    As a total aside, anyone know about the long term reliability of the 500e? A couple have sprung up as used cars here on the east coast. It’d be a fantastic e-car but for the terror of a Fiat product which was unlovingly built by a company that wanted nothing to do with them.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I see plenty of pre-owned Fiat 500e’s on E-bay for under 10k. Way more preferable than the Smart. A decent deal with Abarth like performance, if you can live with the 87 mile range.

      They are still available as a 2017 model though when they were first introduced they were only available in CA and OR. I entered my NYC zip and it said they were available here for $32k or $180 per/mo.

      • 0 avatar

        There are probably some forums somewhere to investigate 500e owner experience, although obviously the number in service in NA is pretty small, they struggle to move 500/month on average.

        I’d think high school kids would consider them somewhat cooler than the Leaf.

      • 0 avatar

        I see plenty of them around $6k-$7k. Electric Smarts around $5-$6k.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      They seem to be okay so far, but the oldest ones are only 4 years old now. Some reading:

  • avatar

    So, what, Smart sales weren’t low enough for their liking, so Mercedes decided to cripple them even further by going all-electric?

  • avatar

    I think they should target golfers – the size and range are perfect for 18 holes.

  • avatar

    smart has completely abandoned the Las Vegas market. There was a standalone dealer a few years ago, then it got folded into one of the MB dealers, then they stopped selling smarts, but I think they continue to service them.

    So if you want an electric smart in Las Vegas, you can buy one in LA and then spend 3 days driving it home at 100 miles per charge.

    • 0 avatar

      Out here they tend to be near Porsche dealers. I guess, technically, the gas-powered Smarts are “mid engined,” so maybe they are cross shopped with the Cayman and Boxster …. NOT!

  • avatar

    I’m thinking this is one you DON’T want to purchase for peanuts on the used market in 3 years for your high school kid. Because of parts prices and availability.

  • avatar

    They need to hobble it with one more crippling design flaw – like optional windscreen or requires penetrative intercourse to start.

  • avatar

    You only get the $7,500 federal tax credit if your taxes are $7,500 or higher. Your taxes $4,000 – you only get $4,000 credit!

  • avatar
    SOF in training

    Are they still charging $80 a month to lease the battery?

  • avatar

    How timely. Running tomorrow in the Mercedes Financial lane at Manheim Orlando – 2014 smart ForTwo Electric Cabrio w/26k miles and ‘Battery Assurance Program.’


    Yeah, no thanks.

    • 0 avatar

      We dispose of the gasoline Car-2-Go units at end-of-life here at auction around 65,000KMS. They go for around $500-$1500CAD. At that price point, I’d almost consider one (though they don’t look the greatest when de-decaled and they have no radios). The electric ones, hell no — most of them can’t even hold a charge well enough to sit for 2 week and reliably run through the lanes.

  • avatar

    Waiting for the dune buggy version.

  • avatar

    This will make a sweet $1,800 used car by the time Trump runs for re-election.

  • avatar

    They actually added on to the local Mercedes dealer a couple years ago to do a separate Smart show room. I was wondering WTF they were thinking. I guess they thought Smart would take off for the hipsters in Portland or something. I see a lot more Sprinter reefers on their lot than Smarts…

  • avatar

    “adds features like cruise control”.

    The range of the electric Smart would preclude ever having to use it, I think.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Arthur Dailey: Enough to understand the power grid and how easy it is to place transformers in neighbourhoods. Which...
  • Arthur Dailey: @EBFlex it appears obvious that you do not pay much attention to the weather. Just call your insurance...
  • FreedMike: “How long can the EV idle? How much Do miles driven affect idle time? Once this is understood many...
  • MrIcky: Or you can get a diesel truck with an atlas fuel tank and just camp out until mid-February.
  • Lou_BC: @285exp – I take comprehension isn’t your strong suit. I said, “Most people don’t need that...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber