Range anxiety and infrastructure woes notwithstanding, I challenge anyone to drive an electric car and not enjoy it.
Enjoying a car can mean different things, of course. It’s not like the Smart Fortwo EQ, the car via which I re-acquainted myself with electric power, is a scintillating B-road ripper. Nor is it a cosseting limousine, pleasantly devoid of the agricultural clatter of internal combustion. It’s just a car, a Smart, with batteries and electric motors where an engine used to be.
That may sound entirely unremarkable, but even the little Smart with its relatively tiny range speaks of a better future. Here’s why…
In my opinion, one of the most important things to have in any car is enough puff beneath your right shoe. That doesn’t mean mega-horsepower, just a good amount available as and when you need it. Motorway on-ramps, dicey junctions and other such split-second challenges faced by motorists make a bit of get-up-and-go an absolute essential.
In an EV, immediate electric torque is par for the course. Even if the figure it boasts is relatively meagre, all of the little Smart’s oomph is available the instant I touch the throttle. That’s response and instant punch a Ferrari 812 Superfast or Lamborghini Aventador SVJ can only dream of.
Low EV running costs
It’s the well-trodden path of the EV fanboy, but the numbers are undeniable. It would cost our camera jockey Bradley more than £10 to put 100 miles-worth of fuel in his 1.4-litre Vauxhall Corsa. To top-up the little Smart, you’re looking at pennies.
We could talk about the consumables in Bradley’s Corsa, too, but that wouldn’t register on a first drive. Plus, we don’t want to upset him.
Ease of use
I love swapping cogs as much as the next car enthusiast, but you’ve got to revel in the turnkey-go feeling of the Smart EQ. Put it in Eco mode and the regenerative brake effect is such that you needn’t touch the middle pedal. Press the accelerator to go, lift off to slow down – it’s as simple as that.
I miss the minutiae of matching revs, and making the best of my Renaultsport Clio’s notchy shift, yet the ease of the sweet little Smart is infectious. Unless you’re carving up the Highlands, easing the chore of everyday driving is no bad thing.
Electric cars are inexplicably relaxing to drive
Maybe it’s the lack of noise, the less metered inputs, or the fewer inputs as a whole. We can’t put our fingers on it, but electric cars are so effortless, so relaxing to drive. You’ll just need to experience one for yourself to see what we mean.
Smart Fortwo EQ: verdict
The little Smart is a long way from perfect, as are many current EVs and the infrastructure in which we’re supposed to run them. You’ll struggle to match its quoted 100-mile range in normal driving. It’s a city EV and not much more. The charging infrastructure, while improving every day, isn’t what it needs to be. Battery tech needs to get better: more power and less weight is a must. These cars need to get cheaper, too: the Fortwo in this Brabus-styled spec is £22,580 – and that’s after the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant.
We’re not ignorant of these problems. The point of this piece was to call out the detractors – there’s much to love about electric cars. We challenge you to drive one and disagree.