Daimler is launching today a new “generation” of its smart EQ electric cars, but those familiar with the brand will have a difficult time finding upgrades beyond the new design.

The smart brand itself has had a difficult time.

It’s supposed to go all-electric after Daimler pulled it into Mercedes-Benz’s new “EQ” sub-brand last year.

The move didn’t work for many dealerships in the US who decided to stop carrying the brand, and the automaker later officially killed the brand in North America.

Today, they are launching what they are calling the “new generation” of smart EQ cars.

Daniel Lescow, head of brand and product management at smart, explains the motivation behind “the dawn of a new era for the brand”:

As a pioneer of urban mobility, it has always been part of smart’s credo to rethink things. The switching of the entire product range to all-electric powertrains marks the start of a new chapter in the story of the smart brand. In concert with innovative sharing concepts and digital services, we are the first manufacturer to switch completely and systematically from combustion engines to solely electric powertrains.

The main changes to “the new generation” is the design.

Here are a few pictures of the smart EQ fortwo, fortwo Cabrio, and forfour released by Daimler today:

The automaker also has added a bunch of connectivity features to the lineup.

However, the electric powertrain remains mostly unchanged.

It is still powered by a small 17.6 kWh battery pack, which Daimler claims is “sufficient for a range of 140-159 km (NEDC)” depending on the model. The smart cars do have an impressive optional 22 kW onboard charger, but that was introduced last year.

Here’s the full spec list:

  smart EQ fortwo smart EQ fortwo cabrio smart EQ forfour
Motor/type Synchronous motor Synchronous motor Synchronous motor
Continuous output (kW) 41 41 41
Max. output (kW) 60 60 60
Max. torque (Nm) 160 160 160
Combined power consumption (kWh/100 km), 4.6 kW onboard charger 16.5-15.2 16.8-15.4 17.3-15.9
Combined power consumption (kWh/100 km), 22 kW onboard charger 15.2-14.0 15.4-14.2 15.9-14.6
Combined CO2 emissions (g/km) 0 0 0
Efficiency class A+ A+ A+
Range (km) 147-159 145-157 140-153
Acceleration 0-60 km/h (s) 4.8 4.9 5.2
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 11.6 11.9 12.7
Top speed (km/h) 130 130 130

Electrek’s Take

You can see why they are pulling the brand from North America. It’s understandable that the demand is not there if Daimler doesn’t care enough about the brand to improve the powertrain at least incrementally every few years.

In 2019, a small 17.6 kWh battery pack is just too small, even for a vehicle of that size. There are electric motorcycles today with bigger battery packs.

Also, why “140-159 km (NEDC)”? Who is still using this outdated standard?

Don’t get me wrong. That kind of range can still work for some people, but it’s a city car, and some people leaving in the city don’t necessarily have access to home charging. It would be nice to have a longer range that would allow for fewer charging sessions.

Either way, if the price remains the same, starting at the equivalent of around $23,800, I am sure they will still be able to sell a few where there are good EV incentives.


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