Smart EQ ForFour range, battery and charging

With a real-world range of 75 miles, the Smart EQ ForFour really is best suited to city use

With a relatively small-capacity battery by today's standards, the Smart EQ ForFour isn't the kind of electric car that'll make instant converts of those who worry about range. However, those who make a lot of short journeys on crowded city streets may find a 75-mile real-world range perfectly acceptable, and a smaller battery means that a full charge takes a little less time than longer-range rivals.

Smart EQ ForFour range

Smart claims a 99-mile range for the EQ ForFour assuming a fully charged battery – the same as quoted by Volkswagen for the e-up! hatchback. Both figures were calculated under a now-outmoded testing procedure, and a 75-mile range is more likely in real world use.

There's only one 17.6kWh battery capacity available, which compares poorly against the Renault ZOE and its 41kWh battery. The latter boasts a claimed range of 186 miles – almost twice that of the Smart, and calculated using a newer test procedure that's more representative of real-world driving.

The EQ ForFour has relatively nippy performance and is quite happy to sit at fast motorway speeds, but do so for long and that battery range will drop fairly quickly. You'll find yourself hanging onto a charged battery for far longer at lower speeds.

Charge time

The Smart EQ ForFour has a built-in 7kW charger, which can optionally be upgraded to a 22kW item. The charging performance either unit offers depends on the mains power source used.

If the standard 7kW charger is fitted, Smart claims home charging from a mains socket will boost the EQ ForFour's battery from 10 to 80% charge in under six hours – there's no improvement in speed with the 22kW charger. Where a high-current wallbox is available, the same increase in battery charge takes 2.5 hours with the standard 7kW charger, or under 40 minutes if the 22kW charger is fitted.

By comparison, a Renault ZOE using a 22kWh charger takes two hours and 40 minutes for a full charge. The EQ ForFour comes with four-metre charging cables to suit domestic three-pin sockets, wallboxes and public charging stations.

Battery warranty

The battery for the Smart EQ ForFour is covered by an eight-year/62,500-mile warranty, regulated by the terms of a 'battery certificate'. It stipulates that the car must be maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendations, and should only be repaired by an authorised Smart workshop, with the risk of voiding the warranty if these rules are broken. Smart currently offers no option to extend your battery warranty.

Battery lease

Unlike Renault and Nissan, Smart doesn't offer a battery lease plan. You buy the battery as part of the purchase cost of the car. While some will see this as an advantage, as there's no ongoing battery lease charge to worry about, others will have concerns about battery performance deteriorating outside warranty, which battery leasing effectively addresses.