Electric Drive FAQ
Is there a federal tax credit I get for buying electric?
Absolutely. Buy a smart electric drive, and you’d get a tax credit equal to your tax bill, up to $7,500. So, if you pay $5,000 in taxes, you’ll get a $5,000 credit. If you pay $7,500 or more in taxes, you’ll get the full $7,500. Just know that the government may phase this out as electric cars become more popular, so the time to save is now. And for more details, see your certified tax professional or read about the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit from the IRS.
What about local incentives? Where can I find them?
Many states offer their own incentives. For example, in California, electric cars get unlimited access to the HOV lane, which is great in traffic. In Illinois, you can earn a rebate of up to $4,000. To see your state’s incentives, visit www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/state.
Can I buy or lease an electric drive?
You sure can. All smart vehicles can be financed or leased, whichever suits your needs.
What’s the warranty like on an electric drive?
The warranty on an electric drive is the same as our gas models, with a little extra. Like gas models, you’re covered for defects in material and workmanship for 48-months or 50,000 miles (whichever comes first). However, your electric battery has an 8-year warranty of its own.
Do I have to pay for electricity like I paid for gas?
Yes, but it’s much cheaper. Electricity in the US is typically about 12 cents per kWh. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, that’s about $540. A year of gas, on the other hand, can cost around $1,400. On top of that, the price of gasoline can fluctuate wildly, whereas the price of electricity is relatively stable. To see the average price of electricity in your state, visit the Energy Information Administration website.
Where can I find public charging stations? Are there enough of them?
There are thousands of charge stations throughout the US, and more are popping up, seemingly every day. The best way to find them is with an app like PlugShare or NextCharge (two of our favorites). These apps show you all of the stations near you. They even let you add new ones and review them too. If you’re thinking about an electric drive, download one of these apps and see what stations are currently around you.
Can I charge at home with a standard household outlet?
Yes, however it’s worth noting that a standard household outlet is a 120-volt outlet, whereas a charging station has a 240-volt outlet, so it would take a fair amount longer. But, it’s very easy to have a 240-volt charging station installed in your home, and our dealers can help you have that arranged.
How long does it take to charge?
To go from 0% to 100%, it takes about 2½ hours using a 240-volt charger, which is much faster than our previous model, and one of the fastest Level 2 charge times of any electric vehicle on the market. On a 120-volt charger, it would take considerably longer, about 13 hours.
What about “fast charge” stations like they have in Europe?
While some areas in the US have fast charge stations, the smart electric drive is not fast charge capable. Part of the reason is because the electric drive’s Level 2 charging is already so quick. Plus, a Level 2 charge station is much more affordable to install in your home.
How does regenerative braking work?
Regenerative braking adds to your charge as you drive. When the car is coasting and the driver touches the brake pedal, the electric motor acts as a generator, slowing the car and pumping electric power back into the battery. Essentially, the momentum of the car is converted into extra power, extending your range as you go. Smart stuff, right?
Does the battery have to be drained to zero periodically?
Nope. While many electronics benefit from an occasionally empty battery, the Lithium-ion battery has no “memory effect”, meaning they never have to be drained, and they also never have to be fully-charged. The life of the battery is unaffected.
What are the benefits of a Lithium-ion battery?
Lithium-ion batteries are known for being lightweight, quick to charge, and having a long service life, which makes them perfect for electric cars. They’re also easily recycled which is an added bonus that we absolutely love.
Is there a warranty for just the battery?
You bet. The battery in every smart electric drive comes with an 8-year/62,000-mile warranty. If anything happens to it during that time, we’ll replace it, free of charge.
Do electric cars perform worse?
No! In many ways, they actually perform better. Unlike gas cars, electric cars deliver power to your wheels instantly, with no lag time, as soon as you step on the pedal. The result is greater torque and acceleration. On top of that, they’re exceptionally smooth. There’s no gear shift and there’s no shaking when idle. Most people are so used to the constant shake of gas vehicles that it isn’t until they experience electric that they realize the incredible difference.
What is the range of the smart electric drive?
The range is 58 miles, as calculated by the EPA. Since the average American drives 29.8 miles per day (according to this study by AAA), this is more than enough to get you where you need to go. It’s also worth noting that the actual range of your car depends on a number of factors like driving behavior, outside temperature, speed, traffic, etc.
Is the electric vehicle different than the gas model?
In the way it runs, absolutely. In the way it looks, not so much. The electric drive has the same dimensions as its gas counterpart, with a wide wheel base and a surprising amount of interior and cargo space. However, the positioning of its components is different, with a battery in the underbody where the fuel tank usually is, and the electric motor positioned in the rear.
Are there restrictions on the colors?
Restrictions on colors are very minimal, with most color combinations available on every electric model. With 10 body panel colors, 4 grill colors, and 7 Tridion Cell colors -including electric green- the possibilities are plentiful.