SmartieParts

Re-introduction

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Hello folks.  I'm here to re-introduce myself, and perhaps get some advice.

 

First, some history for those that don't know me.  Once upon a time, I was very active here.  I was here right at the beginning... I was here before here even existed, back when we used to hang out at MBCanada forums.  Back then, I went by the handle "s_mack".  I bought my 2005 Smart Fortwo CDI at the end of 2004.  Shortly after that, I started SmartieParts and began importing parts from Europe to resell here.  In 2007 I got one of the first 451 smarts and got to work developing a cruise control for it (pre 2011 there was no factory option).  That went well for 3 or 4 years, and then ok for another 2 or 3... eventually demand dying down as factory cruise became the norm (as it always should have).  I kept the business, but moved away from smart parts and on to other things.  I sold my 2005 in 2012 and then eventually got rid of the 2007 too as my family grew and a 2-seater lost its utility.  I was out of the smart scene for quite a few years, and without one in my garage I pretty much stopped coming to the forums.

 

One thing I remember writing on these forums a few times... was how excited I was for the day when we could look back and shake our heads at the fuel we burned in these cars.  Smart represented a brilliant ecological shift, but it was always going to be a stepping stone to something else.  At the time, it was unclear what that something else would be.  Ballard Power systems was a big name in fuel cell technology.  There was this unlikely startup called Tesla that probably wasn't going to go anywhere.  But man... it really didn't take long for the future to get here.

 

In September of 2017, I had saved up enough pennies to buy the only car that really ticked off all the boxes for me.  I picked up a used 2015 Tesla Model S P85D for a great price.  It was shockingly fast, comfortable, and had tons of cargo capacity.  Sure, it cost a ridiculous amount of money... but I loved it.


I say that in the past tense, because not even a year later - on July 12, 2018 - my family took a vacation to visit my brother overseas.  While we were touring Edinburgh Castle, I started to get a flurry of emails from my neighbors about a fire.  It took awhile to piece the details together, and we really didn't appreciate the scope of the damage until we got home on the 24th.  The structure remained, but everything on the inside was gone... including both our cars (the other being a soul-sucking 2010 Honda Fit).

 

Insurance will eventually cover everything (we're 6 months later and the house only today starts getting repaired), but they move slow.  I couldn't afford to replace the Tesla and we had to get a car.  I was committed to electric by this point and found a terrific deal on a 2017 Chevy Bolt EV.  I figured that would be a suitable replacement for the Honda, and I'd replace the Tesla (but with a Model 3) when the insurance money came.  Meanwhile, I purchased a 2009 Smart cabrio for $4300... with the intention of scrapping it 6 months later and taking advantage of the BC Scrap-IT program.  

 

And that's where we're at.  As of today, I'm eligible to scrap the smart and get an EV.   What I didn't notice, however, was they changed the program.  In previous years, as long as you bought a qualifying vehicle, and they still had incentives left, you get the money.  This year, however, they've assigned "tickets" to specific dealerships and VIN #'s... and there really isn't much available.  The Tesla 3 doesn't qualify, for some reason.

 

Here's where the "advice" portion comes in, and if you've bothered to read this far... I thank you.


Yesterday, I test drove a Hyundai Kona, thinking because it was an SUV it would be a good replacement for for the Tesla.  It has great range, is reasonably well priced, and has most of the bells and whistles I'd want!  But when I actually took a close look at it in person, it becomes clear that Hyundai isn't aware of what the "U" is supposed to stand for.  Utility-wise, this thing sucks.  I'm a tall guy, and have to have the driver's seat all the way back.  At that point, the rear left seat becomes useless for anyone over 2 years old.  The way they configured the battery means the rear storage is pretty pathetic.  So it essentially becomes nothing more than a commuter vehicle with gobs of range.  For my commute, I don't need a 400+ km range.  I don't even need 100km.  But what other options are there?  Sure, there's still the Teslas, but then 1) I'm wasting the $6000 incentive; 2) The S and X don't qualify for the $5000 CEV either;  3) Holy crap it is a lot of money, and there are none that I can get for the amount the insurance gave me.  With our house not even repaired  yet, I can't spend that kind of money.   Other than Tesla, the only option I've come up with is the Pacifica Hybrid mininvan.  The price is ok; the features are pretty awesome; it totally fits size/cargo wise.  But the problem with it... is it runs on gas.  OK, it is supposedly electric 95% of the time (around town), but then I've since learned that no... not really.  It often goes into "refresh" mode and runs the gas just for the sake of running the gas.  In the cold, it runs the gas.  From real-world stories... it really isn't an EV, even around town.  It is "pretty good" for a van, but I don't want "pretty good"... i want to be done with gas.

 

Then I started to think:  what if we treat our Chevy Bolt as the 'big car'?  Let it be the replacement for the Tesla.  Then maybe I could focus on the commuter car.

 

And that brings me back to here.  Back to smart.   The smart ED or the new EQ would fit my needs as a commuter, and it qualifies for both the $5k CEV and the $6k scrap-it, making it a pretty cheap vehicle.  BUT (and here's the big but)... the only dealership in BC partaking in the scrap-it program is in Victoria and I'm in Kelowna.  I suppose I could pay to ship it, but I wonder... does anyone have experience with this?  Is it *possible* to make it?  Has anyone taken an electric smart over the Coquihalla/Connector, or alternatively through Hope/Princeton/Penticton?  Is the Electric smart a good car even?

 

OK, I'm done writing a book :)  Thanks for reading, and thanks for any thoughts you care to share.

Edited by SmartieParts
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Welcome back to the site! 

 

Sorry to hear about the fire.  That can sure screw up whatever good things you had going.

 

If I understand this correctly, you would like to pick up the car in Victoria and hopefully get it to Kelona.

 

I'm not from BC, so this may be completely wrong, but here's a bit of 'out-loud' thinking for you to consider.  

 

Option #1 ~~ Go to Victoria, pick it up and drive it to Swartz Bay and take the ferry to Tsawwassen or some other mainland port of you choosing and using a rented or borrowed two-wheeled car-towing trailer or small flatbed, take it to Kelona.  You may be able to get a friend to help with this end of it.  A 6' x 10' flatbed towed behind a suitable vehicle would do the job.

 

The overall distance between Victoria and Kelona is too far to make it on one charge in the smart ED..  Theoretically, it could be done in stages with a minimum of two stops to fully recharge, presuming that you start on a full charge at Victoria.  That would safely give you some breathing room and eliminate any range-anxiety.

 

Option #2 ~~ Ship it by rail or flat-bed truck (A member shipped her SUV from Cold Lake, AB to Toronto using the flat-bed behind a truck method) Not sure of the cost but it is just another out-loud thinking idea to consider.

 

That's all I can think of for the time being, and I'm sure others will chime in as the morning breaks.

 

Again, :welcome: back.

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Thanks.  The route I'd have to go is high speed (110 limit ) and mostly through mountainous terrain.  I probably would have to charge five times.  The issue is whether I can make it at all... the distance between the ones up in the mountains might be too great.

 

Alas... It is a moot point.  I was getting ahead of myself.  I assumed because I've had three smarts before, that I must be ok with this one too.  Today I test drove one locally and realize they changed the cabin to reduce driver leg room noticeable.  Specifically, the left leg foot rest is closer to me so my left leg has to be bent more than previous generations. That is uncomfortable enough on its own, but it also forces my knee toward the door and it lines up inconveniently with the control knob.  Quite painful after just 20 minutes.  I'm going back to the drawing board to figure out my next car.

 

So it looks like my reintroduction turn quickly into my latest so long :)

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Hey Steven, what caused the fire?  Sorry to read that.  Maybe you need another cdi.  They're almost free these days....

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Welcome back, sorry to hear of the fire. A garage/home fire of any sort would be a big fear for me. I would suggest taking a look at the Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid. We have the 2014 model equipped with the V6 AWD and I love the capabilities it has, so we have tested the new to Canada PHEV model. It's a combined system of electric drive with a small turbo gas engine that is mostly a generator but can also drive the vehicle when required( very long range capabilities). The performance may intrigue you as well since I was very impressed coming from a V6 version of the same vehicle. The Mitsubishi 10yr 160000km factory warranty was very reassuring as well since it did apply to the battery too.

 Good luck

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I got a ride in a friend’s BMW i3 a while back, and that was a really beautiful little automobile inside. I was shocked by how much I liked it. They have a range extender option as well. 

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They're kind of cool but even with the range extender it's about 300 km total.

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True. I've read that the range extender programming for North America really sucks.

 

HOWEVER, if it's primarily going to be used for short trips around town, the REx option at least opens up the possibility to use it for occasional longer trips. 

 

I walked past an i3 the other day in one of our deep freezes, and it had its REx engine running. It was quite a clatter from the outside. It's a two-cylinder scooter engine... not the smoothest, but it gets the job done in a pinch.

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Now that you've decided not to purchase an ED/EQ this is probably a moot point however,

all of the MB dealers in the lower mainland are listed as participating in the scrap-it program...

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I don't think it's going to have the same drive train as the Kona.

The list price is way too low...

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