Smart EQ Forfour Electric Car Hatchback: The Complete Guide For India

smart electric car forfour India
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body type: Hatchback
Battery size: 17.6 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 78 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 0g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

For those keen on an overview of the Indian electric vehicle (EV) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!


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The All-Electric Smart EQ Forfour


The Smart urban electric mobility company is owned by the German automotive manufacturer Daimler AG, more commonly referred to as Mercedes-Benz. Daimler is headquartered in Stuttgart and is known for leading car brands to include, Mercedes-AMG and the Mercedes Maybach.

The company currently has the following portfolio of city battery-electric vehicles (BEVs):

The Smart Forfour internal combustion engine (ICE) city car was first introduced in Europe in 2004. The Smart Forfour EV, an electric variant of the city car, has been available since 2018 (launched in 2017). This battery-electric vehicle (BEV) shares its platform with the Renault Twingo and is manufactured in Slovenia.

The compact Smart EQ electric car is well suited for the urban environment, in particular, in towns and cities that are densely populated, with severe road congestion. The EV is easy to park (turning circle: 9.05 m), even in small parking spaces. Certainly easy to drive too. The EQ electric vehicle is a good second car for families living in urban centres.

The EQ EV is available in one EV battery size (17.6 kWh). Given the positioning of the pure electric car as a city car, a 17.6 kWh EV battery size is more than appropriate. Do keep in mind, the smaller the EV battery, the lower the total weight of the electric vehicle (EV), and the greater the vehicle efficiency. It is this very logic that the Japanese automotive manufacturer, Honda has deployed for the all-electric Honda e city car.

The EQ electric car has a claimed pure electric range up to 78 miles (WLTP). But of course, the electric range depends on a number of factors, to include: driving profile, road conditions, weather, onboard services used etc. Expect the real-world emission-free electric range to be lower than the claimed range and closer to 65 miles for the EQ EV. This is certainly more than sufficient for city driving i.e. school runs, trip to the grocery store, local high street, work etc.

Zero-emission electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet. Pure electric cars help improve local air quality, a critical issue, given the continued alarming levels of pollution in our urban centres across the UK. A pure electric car has zero tailpipe emissions. Put another way, a pure electric car does not have a tailpipe/ exhaust! Driving on e-mode also helps save money. Electric driving is far cheaper, compared to driving a conventional petrol or diesel car!

The EQ electric car does not offer fast DC charging. This is not a concern, given the small size of the onboard EV battery. However, the EV does incorporate a three-phase 22 kW AC onboard charger. Given that most homes in India are powered by single-phase power supply, most of us will not be able to take advantage of the three-phase onboard charger. For this with access to three-phase (22 kW) charging at home or at work, the EV can be charged from 10% to 80% in a mere 40 minutes.

Single-phase (7.4 kW) EV charging will take longer. The EV can be charged up to 80% via a dedicated single-phase EV charger like myenergi zappi in 3 hours and 18 minutes. Though the EV can be charged via a domestic 3-PIN plug, we at e-zoomed do not encourage using a domestic plug for charging an electric car. The EV will take up to 8 hours and 30 minutes to charge up to 80% via a 3-PIN socket.

We at e-zoomed recommend charging overnight when the electricity prices are lower. We also recommend charging on a regular basis. This way charging times are reduced and regular charging is good for the long-term maintenance of the onboard EV battery. The manufacturer offers a 8 years/ 62,000 miles warranty. 

Despite all the advantages of the Smart EQ Forfour in urban environments, the EV is limited by space and practicality. It offers a 150 L boot space, which is certainly small. Do not expect it to hold the family weekly grocery shopping! Also, the rear seats can be a tight squeeze for taller individuals. Standard equipment includes: central locking with radio remote control, visual locking verification and immobiliser, electronic stability programme, rear parking aid with acoustic warning and reversing camera, hill start assist, instrument display with battery charge status display and power display, smart Connect Media-System and more.

In terms of performance, the rear-wheel drive EQ electric car can achieve 0-62 mph in 12.7 seconds (maximum power: 82 hp/ torque: 160 Nm). The top speed for the EV is 81 mph. Of course the electric car also benefits from instant torque.

The Smart EQ Forfour electric car is not available in India.


PROS CONS
Decent pure electric range for city driving needsRear space for passengers limited
22 kW onboard charger as standardLimited boot space
Well suited for city driving. Easy to drive and parkCheaper alternatives available

The All-Electric Smart Forfour (credit: Smart)


Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).

In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!


At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (2 Options)
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EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 17.6 kWh
Charging:DC charging not available. Onboard charger: 22 kW AC (10%-80%: 40 mins)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 62,000 miles

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
  • Note 1: SoC: state of charge

Dimensions
Height (mm):1554
Width (mm):1665
Length (mm):3495
Wheelbase (mm):1873
Turning Circle (m):9.05
Boot Space (L):150

Smart EQ Forfour
EV Battery Capacity:17.6 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):78 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):17.0 – 17.1
Charging:DC charging not available. Onboard charger: 22 kW AC (10%-80%: 40 mins)
Top Speed:81 mph
0-62 mph:12.7 seconds
Drive:Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
Electric Motor (kW):60
Max Power (HP):82
Torque (Nm):160
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:4
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg):1,200
Colours:7
NCAP Safety Rating:N/A

India Electric Vehicle (EV) Market


India, like many other countries, is well positioned to benefit from the shift to zero-tailpipe emission electric driving. Road transportation is a major contributor to air pollution (over 30%), choking our towns, cities and villages across India. Diesel vehicles, in particular, diesel trucks and diesel buses, are significant sources for tailpipe emissions. But given the rise in the standard of living, since liberalisation, the demand for privately owned passenger cars has increased at an unprecedented pace, further worsening the air quality. India has more than 3 crores (30 million) cars releasing tailpipe emissions on its roads!

Though we have seen some improvements in air quality during the ongoing pandemic (as a result of lower vehicle traffic), India’s shift to electric driving will be key in achieving long-term higher air quality. Of course, apart from EVs, the continued development of green and renewable energy infrastructure will be key in achieving lower long-term air pollution. India has already demonstrated global leadership in regards to large-scale solar and wind projects! Hopefully, India will replicate the success with zero-emission electric vehicles.

Despite recent announcements and support from local and national government agencies in India, the EV market is still at a nascent stage, well, at least in terms of electric cars and electric vans. Two-wheel electric scooters and three-wheel electric rickshaws (e-rickshaws) have demonstrated a strong uptake, and India is poised to become a global leader in electric scooters and electric rickshaws (e-tuk). In fact, the ubiquitous e-rickshaw commands an impressive 83% of the Indian electric vehicle market. India currently has over 15 lakhs (1.5 million) e-rickshaws, with each EV playing a role in reducing tailpipe emissions on our roads in India.

Sales of passenger electric cars is still at an early stage. In FY2021, though the market witnessed a growth of nearly 110% from the previous year, the absolute volume of cars sold was only 5,905 electric cars. Currently there are less that 15 pure electric car models available on sale in India.

Tata Motors, the biggest automotive manufacturer in India has launched the Tata Nexon electric SUV. Mahindra Electric, another leading Indian automotive manufacturer, has also launched a number of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), to include, the Mahindra eVerito electric car, Mahindra eSupro electric van and Mahindra e2o Plus compact electric car. International manufacturers, like UK based MG Motors, have also launched the MG ZS electric SUV in India. Also available are the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUV and the Hyundai Kona electric SUV.


Types Of Electric Vehicles (EVs)


Electric vehicle” is an umbrella term, and a broad one at that. There are a number of different types of electric vehicles (EVs), each with its distinct characteristics and advantages. These include:

  • BEVs: Battery-electric vehicles (pure electric)
  • PHEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) combined)
  • MHEVs: Mild hybrid electric vehicles (internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) along with regenerative braking)
  • FCEVs: Fuel cell electric vehicle (electric with hydrogen as fuel)

The above “types” are powered either entirely or partially by electric energy and have different environmental impacts.


Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs)


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), also known as pure electric vehicles, are powered entirely by electricity (i.e. the vehicle does not have a conventional internal combustion engine). BEVs have zero-tailpipe emissions and help improve local air quality.

BEVs are also very economical to drive. A BEV can cost as little as Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive. Examples of best-selling EVs include, the all-electric Tesla Model 3 and the all-electric Renault Zoe. A BEV is charged by plugging in the electric vehicle to a dedicated electric car charging station (home or public charging stations). BEVs are well suited for those living in towns, cities and urban centres. Of course, battery-electric vehicles are also suitable for those living in rural settings.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) differ from battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), in that, PHEVs use both a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric engine for propulsion. Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the advantages of electric driving and internal combustion engine driving.

On shorter distances, the PHEV uses the electric mode to drive emission-free, using the on-board EV battery and regenerative braking. For longer distances, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles switches to using the internal combustion engine. With a PHEV, the vehicle can cost as little Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive on e-mode, without any tailpipe pollution, and also be driven long-distances, without the fear of range anxiety! Most PHEVs have an EV battery of up to 15 kWh and can achieve a zero-emission electric range of up to 50 kilometres. No wonder PHEVs are fast becoming popular globally, with much potential or India. Like a BEV, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is charged by using an external power source (EV charging point) for charging.

PHEVs are suitable for those that drive long-distances on a regular basis but want to lower the negative environmental impact from tailpipe pollution. PHEVs are also suitable for those individuals and families that are seeking to save money by taking advantage of electric driving. The Volvo XC40 PHEV and the Volkswagen Golf 8 are good examples of PHEVs.


Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)


Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) are a limited form of electric driving. These vehicles also use hybrid technologies (electric driving and internal combustion engine), but the EV battery is much smaller than a BEV or PHEV. Moreover, in a mild hybrid, the EV battery cannot be charged via an external source (i.e. EV charging station). In a MHEV, the battery is charged by capturing the energy released during braking, a process known as regenerative braking. MHEVs have lower tailpipe emissions, and are more economical to own, run and maintain than petrol and diesel cars. MHEVs are a better option than a petrol or diesel car, but not as good an option as a BEV or PHEV. Mild hybrids are well suited for those living in regions with limited charging infrastructure. Again, MHEVs have great potential in India, given the limited public EV charging infrastructure.

The Toyota Prius is a good example of a mild hybrid electric vehicle.


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) also called hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, have a fuel cell stack that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power the electric vehicle. The fuel cell generates electricity and pure water vapour that can escape via the tailpipe. It is capable of generating electricity as long as there is a steady supply of hydrogen. Fuel cell electric vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen at purpose built filling stations. Filling an FEC takes no more than five minutes.

FCEVs have a range of about 500 kilometers or more between refueling. Today, the only and major limitation is the very limited hydrogen refuelling station network globally. The Toyota Mirai FCEV is a good example of this type of EV.




Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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