Smart ForFour Electric Drive (FUTURE)

Written By: EightySix

Will you get to drive an electric Smart ForFour?

If you think a Smart ForTwo is fine for the kiddie pool but not big enough for the deep end, you may be in luck.

Daimler AG has resurrected the four-door, four-seat ForFour. It will be available in Europe only, for now. The wheelbase is about two feet longer and the car is 31 inches longer overall. If the ForFour came to the US in its current state, it would be the shortest four-door vehicle around.

Other than the two extra doors and rear seat, it's still very much a Smart with its rear engine, distinct lines and exposed Tridion Safety Cell. Both the ForTwo and the ForFour are available with the same two three-cylinder engines: a naturally aspirated 999cc or a turbo-charged 898cc. A five-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic both greatly improve upon the old hesitant automated-manual.

The first generation of ForFour briefly sold in Europe and Australia from 2004 to 2006. It was built in the Netherlands in conjunction with Mitsubishi. It shared a platform with the Mitsubishi Colt.

Test drivers of the European ForFour note that the added size make it a bit slower but still quite nimble. The interior has slightly finer materials than the previous generation. Keyless entry and cruise control are standard. An LCD display replaces the old-fashioned dash-mounted gauges. Heated seats, multi-function steering wheel and 12 speaker JBL audio are optional.

2015 Smart ForFour (non-EV version)

But What About Electric?

Smart cannot deny that the winds are blowing the way of the electric car. President Annette Winkler confirmed at the Paris Motor Show that by 2016 an electric ForFour and an updated electric ForTwo would be for sale. The motor and batteries will be new versions of what drove the previous ForTwo Electric Drive. Likely the partnership with Smart and Tesla will persist, pushing the range past 100 miles and the zero-to-sixty time under ten seconds.

Increased electric range and speed could finally create a Smart the masses would want to drive.

Smart's partnership with Renault remains essential. The ForFour shares many parts with the Twingo and is assembled at the same Slovenian plant. An electric Twingo does not yet exist, but could certainly be on the horizon.

Will it Come to the United States?

Currently there are no plans for anything other than the ForTwo to see American roads. A slightly bigger, but still little, Smart would not cause a ripple in the American market. The cute ForTwo will have its niche, but the US is still a nation needing three rows of seats.

Rumors are bouncing around about a stretched-out version of the ForFour. Four and a half more feet in length, an extreme stretch, would make it equal to a Honda Accord. Another forty-two inches would make it CRV size. Would this be appealing to the American market?

There are also whispers about Smart building a compact SUV on the lines of a Nissan Juke. All-wheel drive and a bit more clearance would appeal more to US consumers, but it would still lack space.

The best chance of the ForFour spreading to America and beyond would be Car2Go. The car-sharing service, operated by Daimler AG, currently provides one-way rentals of ForTwos to over a million customers in eight countries, including thirteen US cities. The service could benefit by offering room for four passengers.

Will it Change the World?

The ForTwo Electric Drive is a great step for personal transportation. Smart needs to do something family sized. Is the ForFour big enough? Not quite. Is Smart prepared to satisfy the needs of a family or should it concentrate on its compact European niche?