Eco cars rated Smart ForTwo ED

Smart is working on this all electric version of its two-seat city car, the ForTwo ED (electric drive). It's identical to a conventional Smart, apart from the power source. At present it's just a prototype but we're expecting it to cost around £21,000 (after government grant) when it goes on sale in 2012.

Smart Fortwo 4

Our view

The ForTwo ED will be on sale from early 2012, but we tested a prototype in our lab. We measured a 66-mile range – lower than Smart’s claim of 84 miles – confirming that most electric car owners won’t be able to match makers’ claims. Recharging took eight hours. 

What’s it like to drive?

It feels nippy at low speeds, but runs out of puff approaching its max speed of around 60mph. It’s easy to drive, with simple stop-go controls and a selector for forward and reverse. Like other electric cars we've tested so far, it’s quiet (we expect the real version to feature a sound generator). Its 195-litre boot is the same as the standard Smart. The heater is weak, a common flaw in most electric cars.

Read our review of the normal Smart range

See how it stacks up against the conventional Smart ForTwo CDI diesel

Good for: Short trips around town, heavy traffic and short commutes.

Bad for: Dual-carriageway or motorway use, long distances, extreme weather.

Environmental credentials: Very good: 84g/km CO2 according to the Which? test of a prototype.

Fuel cost for 50 miles: £1.50

Everyday usability: Very poor - only two seats, takes eight hours to charge, very limited range and performance.