This morning Electricpig had a pootle around London in Smart’s electric vehicle, the Fortwo. The car hasn’t been launched yet, but there’s a handful being trialled out on the roads. After Driving a G-Wiz last year, I must say, I wasn’t that excited. The G-wiz felt like driving round in a crap trainer. Thankfully, Smart’s take is much more like driving a normal car. Quentin Wilson, car journo and compere for today’s test drives, said as much, stating: “Nobody has done as much damage to the EV cause”. In this case then, he’d be right.
The Smart EV feels very much like a normal Smart car, except for that imposing silence. It drives like an automatic, with a gearstick with four stops. Happily, the accellerator was much less jumpy than I found the G-wiz, and driving was smooth, and responsive, once you get used to stifling the impulse to floor the pedal when there’s no revs to hear.
The costs are where the real questions are, and generally, in this market, numbers are bandied around here there and everywhere. The basic proposition is that electric cars are much more expensive than their petrol equivalents, but you’re paying up front for your fuel. It’s a bit like asking someone to spend an extra £50 on a pair of shoes that they won’t have to have re-soled.
These cars will be rolled out in 2012, and its estimated that each charge costs £1.50, or £170 per year, whereas a petrol equivalent costs £1500 in fuel a year. When you add these to the environmental factors it’s persuasive, but even with the government incentives, it’s unlikely that one will set you back less than £14,000.