Running EQ in hilly terrain and battery regeneration


(Charles) #1

The FourTwo is classed as a city car, but does this mean that its range is badly affected by hills?

Most of my driving is 5-20 mile round trips and I have a garage where I can charge, so I would expect to be able to put the car on charge when it is at home.

Quoted range is about 100 miles, but consensus is that in the real world this is nearer 70 miles and in UK winter, when you need to run with heating and aircon, then it is more likely to be 40ish.

Now this I could live with. However we live in a hilly area of Yorkshire and so there is a lot of up and down so I am wandering if this will cause me to see even lower ranges.

How well does the FourTwo regen work on breaking i.e. will I get much battery charge back when going downhill?

The reviews I have seen indicate that the regen is not aggressive i.e. if you lift off the accelerator whilst driving on the flat then the car will “free wheel” and drop speed as energy is lost. So you don’t have one peddle driving and the experience is more like a traditional car.

I assume if whilst doing this you press the brake peddle then it applies regen to try to perform the deceleration and so reclaim the energy.

The blurb mentions “Radar-assisted recuperation” which I don’t understand. Does this mean that if the radar detect an obstruction it applies regen more aggressively, or does it employ the brakes i.e. sacrifice energy for safety?

Thanks


#2

Your expectations of range during the winter are pretty realistic, I’d say. My range drops roughly 40% during the peak of winter. I can’t comment on hills unfortunately as my commute to work is pretty much completely flat.

Regarding regen braking: don’t expect to gain a lot from this - even on hills. Unfortunately, I think the non-EV owner opinion seems to be that you can get back many miles from brake regeneration, but reality is a very different matter. I’d take a realistic guess of gaining back 3 - 5 miles on a 20-mile round-trip. In other words, I wouldn’t really take it into account (I don’t, and I drive roughly 77 miles per day).

Radar-assist is all about safety. It only works when you use the car in ‘normal’ mode (which also slightly reduces your range). What it does is apply the brakes if it senses that the car in front is too close to you. This could be from your driving too close to the car in front or from someone overtaking you and pulling in front of you too soon, for example. I very rarely use normal mode so I can’t comment on radar-assist actually slowing down the car. However, I have had the radar warning light flash at me and also bleep when someone has overtaken me and pulled in front of me too closely.

Regen on the ForTwo is a little stronger than our Renault Zoe but I’ve become used to it. You’re right, it’s certainly nowhere near one-foot driving (very few EV cars actually are right now) but it’s surprising how little I use the brakes. Saying that, most of my commute is done on minor and major roads, outside of town.


(Charles) #3

Many thanks. Been into the local showroom for a test drive and I must admit I really liked it.

However it seems they are building no new EQ ForTwo cars at this time, but are running down the production of the ICE versions and I have found a Merc 2019 product roadmap and this shows the Smart cars being “upgraded” at the end of this year; by when they will only be selling EQ versions.

Given at the same time Skoda is expected to release a new 36.8kWh Citygo, for around £18-£20K, I assume the Smart “upgrade” will include an increased battery capacity and will have to be priced at around the same point or they may as well stop making them.

The current real world cost for an EQs seems to be around £16K, well under the list price, but even this feels far too expensive given the probable changes at the end of the year.

As such I am thinking that waiting to see what happens may be the best bet, as whilst I could probably manage my driving in winter to fit what the current car can deliver, it would I expect cause me to have to make compromises that would not exist with a car having a 30+kWh battery.


#4

Don’t assume anything… From my experience, things tend to happen one year after Smart have announced they will.


#5

Smart now EV only - new design unveiled

See the above topic. Will you get one of the new ones? If I had known they were going to launch these this year I’d have probably waited a year to get one!


(Charles) #6

I am trying to understand the benefit of the new model over the older EQ I was looking at previously.
Range anxiety was the only reason I did not pull the trigger then. I don’t know if the new model will get much extra mileage given the small number of changes. If driving at night then the top spec’s LED lights will help, but the price of this looks stupid. If I could get 40 miles a day then I would be happy, but given the cold in winter and the hilly terrain where I live I don’t know if this is possible or not.

The old car was discounted down to £16k or so, for a Prime spec with leather, panoramic roof etc and from I can see the new EQs will not be any cheaper than the old and look to be far more expensive if you look at the top models.

People in cities tend not to have private parking, so charging needs to use public points and so a decent range is needed to avoid having to charge too often.

I really don’t know what Smart was thinking, unless the are looking to run down stocks of the current battery and will do another refresh as some point before the new models in 2022, where a bigger battery is provided.

As such I am a bit stuck. Possibly I will go back and look at a discounted older version as some still kicking around.


#7

I can reassure you that even the current (old?) Smart EQ models will achieve 40 miles easily, even in winter. From memory, I think mine was reporting an average range of 55 miles in winter and this is without Eco turned on, where I could get another 10-15 miles.

Having said that, you’re right, the new models look more expensive. That’s bonkers pricing and I was expecting them to be the same as what I paid (around £16k for the Prime Premium Plus interior with winter add-on pack and 22kw charging).

From what I can see the major differences are the new styling, 22kw charging as standard and an updated media console, which I must admit I’d consider trading mine in just for the updated media console. The one in the current Smart is a joke considering the price tag, and is basically a v1.0 R-Link from Renault, which must be about 10 years old!

I’m also a fan of the new styling. It looks less cheap in my opinion. However if none of these things bother you then I’d definitely recommend the model I have.


#8

This is correct if you don’t have Eco turned on. If you turn Eco mode on, the Smart behaves much more like any other EV with aggressive regen. It’s nice to have the option. When I don’t need to worry about range I get a nippy little car that’s not pulling back all the time, but when I need to maximise range or I just want to regen more I switch the Eco on.


(Charles) #9

Thanks. I live in very hilly Yorkshire and so I was not at all clear what sort of impact this has on range.

I don’t believe is is as simple that when you go down a hill the car managed to regenerate a significant amount of the electricity it took to drive up it and this coupled with the effect of cold on the battery and running the heater/aircon to de-mist the car made me extremely nervous. Well at least nervous enough to not want to spend £16+k on a car.

Possibly I need to reconsider…


(osbrook) #10

Lights, wipers and radio make no difference to the range as they run off the 12V battery - although does get topped up from the traction battery it is so small as not to notice. LED lights are just for show rather than range enhancing.


(Charles) #11

Thanks I had forgotten that.


#12

Maybe your local dealer could lend you one to test out. I’ve driven a Zoe around Yorkshire and can attest to the hills and cold severely impacting the range, although I’m still confident you’d get your 40 miles. Best to check though!


(m1n1s) #13

I run a 2017 ED Smart forfour on the Isle of Wight , so a good mixture of hills and twisty turny roads, my regular commute is 31 miles a day, in the summer i recharge every three days and in the winter I recharge every two days. The car is always in ECO mode unless overtaking slower cars.

My range is about 100 miles in the summer and 70 miles in the winter.

The 2017 ED is not nice to drive with under 10 miles left in the battery pack as the range is displayed as – :grinning:


(Charles) #14

Thanks for this. Your winters will be significantly milder than ours, a quick check shows around 5 degrees for you, compared to -5 for us in Jan/Feb. However you still get 70 miles in your winter period.


(m1n1s) #15

im sure you will get 40 miles easy , don’t be afraid of the technology , its a big leap at first but the future is here :wink:


#16

The worst I saw last year during winter was a full charge of 52 miles. And that was with a temperature of -26c.