With growing concerns over air quality in urban areas and Government and local authority clean air zones and initiatives spreading, an electric city car makes a lot of sense for many organisations.
Small and easy to drive in towns and cities where limited range is not a key factor, it should be their natural habitat.
This is certainly the case for the Smart Forfour Electric Drive.
It is tall for a city car – at 1,540mm it’s around 100mm higher than a Citroen C1 – and this translates into a raised driving position which provides good visibility to help spot any potential hazards and vulnerable road users.
The speed-dependent electrically assisted steering is light and direct around town, and gives the Smart a tiny turning circle of 9.05m (C1:9.6m, Kia Picanto 9.4m), making low-speed driving and manoeuvring easy.
Its 80PS electric motor and constant ratio gearbox also provide ample performance in urban areas, and these are where the city car is unsurprisingly at its best.
The Forfour’s real-world range of 70-75 miles is more than 20 miles less than its official range of 96, and limits its appeal for fleets and drivers who regularly do longer journeys.
Added to this, its standard 7kW charger means the Forfour’s 17.6 kWh battery takes 2.5 hours to charge using a 16A charger. This becomes six hours if a standard household three-pin socket is used.
However, fleets and drivers who choose the Forfour will find their car is well specified, with black leather upholstery, heated front seats and a panoramic roof as standard. There is plenty of room for the front occupants, but the rear is cramped.
The design of the cabin reflects the youthful appearance of the Forfour’s exterior, and the mix of contrasting colours and textures helps give the well-built interior some character. The steering wheel position is fixed, however.
Other standard equipment includes automatic climate control, a media system with seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking sensors and cruise control.
Standard safety equipment includes active brake assist, crosswind assist, and hill start assist.