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.
Smart, the plucky and perplexing subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, has the unique distinction of offering an EV variant of its sole U.S. model that’s generally accepted as being an improvement over the gas-powered model.
Certainly, a vastly reduced range doesn’t boost the tiny package’s appeal, but the two-seat city car really isn’t meant for those long-legged highway trips. That’s what the Ford F-150 and Fiat 500 are for. No, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive has two aces up its sleeve — instant thrust, and a transmission that mercifully stays in the same gear.
For 2017, Smart has sized up its Electric Drive, accepted its limitations (no, we can’t add a backseat ... ), and made it a bit better in any way it can.