Zytek Smart EV Test drive

By Noel Adams


On November 16, 2003 I attended EVS 20.  One of the vehicles available for test drive was the Smart EV converted by The British company Zytek EV Ltd. 


The car is an EV version of the Smart Coupe and has all the fit and finish of a production vehicle.  Sitting in the Smart EV didnít feel at all cramped which is a surprise given its diminutive size.  Since I am only five feet six though I am probably not well qualified to judge this.


Coming from England, this was a right hand drive vehicle, but since I am originally from the UK I am a right hand drive sort of person anyway so it didnít bother me. 


Starting the car was easy.  Turn the key to start, move the shift leaver from neutral to drive, release the hand brake and hit the accelerator.  I found that I had to push down quite a long way on the accelerator before the vehicle took off. This gave the feeling that there was a slight delay before acceleration kicked in.  It took me most of the test drive to get used to this and was the only negative I had on this car.


Dan, the rep from Zytek who rode along with me told me that the electric version out-accelerates the ICE version.  I can well believe that because once the vehicle started to move it accelerated quickly up to speed.  This car is not going to blow away a T-Zero but the acceleration was more than adequate for a City Car such as this.


Out on the road the steering was light and precise.  During the short test-drive the Smart EV handled well.  The ride was smooth on the streets of Long Beach and the car took corners without any fuss.  The car easily kept up with traffic in the street around the convention center showing its lineage as a great commuter car.  Braking was also light and brought the vehicle to a stop at lights effortlessly.


Dan told me that Zytek were looking for distributors who would be interested in bringing a NEV version of the Smart into the USA.  It is a pity that US safety rules make it so difficult to get City class vehicles onto the US market.  The Zytech EV, with its 75mph top speed and 50 to 100 miles of range would make a first class City Car.