Smart EQ ForTwo Coupe running costs

Depending on how you charge your Smart EQ ForTwo, you can expect to see your motoring bills plummet

Like many electric cars, the EQ ForTwo costs more to buy than the equivalent petrol or diesel model – but the savings start rolling in when you realise how much less the plug-in car costs to run.

Prices start from a little over £20,000, which is roughly the same as the Volkswagen e-up!. It’s trickier to compare the Smart to the larger Renault ZOE, because there's no option to lease the Smart’s batteries.

However, all of these models are eligible for the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant (PICG), which slashes £3,500 off the list price. This brings the Smart EQ to within around £4,500 of its petrol equivalent, and the more you drive, the quicker you’ll recoup the difference thanks to cheaper running costs.

Being an electric car, the Smart EQ ForTwo qualifies for zero road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) and the lowest Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax rate. It’s also exempt from the London Congestion Charge, which could save you £11.50 per day if you regularly drive into the centre of the capital.

Smart ForTwo insurance groups

Smart doesn’t publish specific insurance-group data for the EQ ForTwo, but a quick numberplate search on our test car returned a low group 12 rating. Another look-up on a pricier Nightsky-spec EQ ForTwo Cabriolet returned a group 15 rating. As such, no ForTwo will be too costly to insure.

Warranty

All new Smart ForTwo models – including the EQ electric car – get a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty. This is the same guarantee offered by parent company Mercedes on every model from the basic A-Class hatchback to the luxury S-Class saloon. In addition, all Smart models come with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty, covering the car’s paint and body work.

For comparison, a Volkswagen e-up! comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, while Renault offers the ZOE with cover for four years and 100,000 miles.

Servicing

Smart EQ ForTwos run on a flexible service schedule, indicated by a light on the car’s dashboard. The type of service (minor or full) will depend on a variety of factors, including time elapsed and miles driven. You can pay for servicing using Smart ServiceCare, which breaks the overall cost down into manageable monthly payments. This can cost as little as £20 per month.

Road tax

As the Smart EQ ForTwo is a zero-emissions vehicle, it's exempt from road tax (VED).

Depreciation

Residual values for the Smart EQ ForTwo are pretty disappointing. Official figures suggest it'll retain between 34 and 37% of its value after three years and 36,000 miles. That said, no Smart petrol model will retain more than 43% of its original purchase price, either.

But it’s important to look at things in context. The Renault ZOE, despite being cheaper to buy, posts figures of between 22 and 29%, which is particularly poor. A Volkswagen e-up! is closer to the Smart EQ, and retains 37% of its value after three years.