First Drive: Smart #1 Premium & Brabus From Selangor To Penang – Maximum Performance For The Price


Mention about the Smart vehicle brand, maybe if you are old enough it will remind you of a car that features a design that looks different from the others. In the heyday of Smart, which produced cars such as the ForFour and ForTwo, it was indeed very different and even when they presented their electric vehicles in the Malaysian market as early as last year, they also brought various differences compared to other electric vehicles on the market.

Smart #1 brought in through Pro-Net, a subsidiary of Proton, is a joint venture between Geely and Mercedes. I recently had the opportunity to drive this vehicle through an event with the media, from Subang Jaya, Selangor to Teluk Bahang, Penang and back. There are two models used for this driving event which are Smart #1 Premium and Smart #1 Brabus.

Session at USJ Speedway Circuit

Before we started our journey to Teluk Bahang, we were taken to test the agility of this car in the circuit built for Go-Karts at USJ Speedway. We tested both variants on the circuit and a significant difference can be seen when accelerating. The Smart #1 Premium only has electric motors for the rear tires, and the Smart #1 Brabus has electric motors for the front and rear tires, making the AWD drive work and providing better acceleration and control.

This Brabus version can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds thanks to 428PS power and 543Nm torque while the Premium version can accelerate 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds with 272PS power and 343NM torque.

The video above while testing the Smart #1 Brabus, with the Brabus driving mode activated, when I stepped on the accelerator pedal after being instructed, the effect of the passenger's inertia was clearly evident which was suddenly seen slightly backwards, and I was able to accelerate close to 90 km/h in no time less than 6 seconds. One of the main advantages of electric cars is fast acceleration. Electric power can be delivered as fast as milliseconds, allowing electric vehicles to accelerate and reach high speeds in the blink of an eye.

However, during the swapparkir test, there were several incidents where this Smart car entered the parking lot which may not have been very accurate. Sometimes it tilts in the parking box, and sometimes it even eats up the empty side parking lot. Maybe this can be fixed with an update. However I personally would still park myself without expecting this automatic system.

From USJ to Teluk Bahang, Penang With Smart #1 Premium

Continuing the journey to Teluk Bahang, we were given a Smart #1 Premium and left with 87% battery capacity remaining with a travel distance of 304km. The battery capacity is 66 kW, and can have a travel distance of 440km WLTP on a full charge. One of the things that can be commended is the display of the travel forecast given in the form of a map, at the same time providing a visual and understanding of the distance you can travel. This map display function is very helpful for drivers who have just migrated to electric vehicles to plan trips and see charging locations along the way.

Since there is an energy efficiency competition for this driving session, we drive in a way that optimizes energy consumption by activating the Adaptive Cruise Control system and setting the vehicle speed to follow the vehicle in front. We chose to follow the lorry, with a speed of around 80 km/h. Driving like this is definitely not fun, and you will be tired of 'waiting' instead of tired of driving. This function is very useful during traffic jams during the festive season because you do not need to step on the accelerator pedal or the brake pedal.

All Smart #1 models sold in Malaysia are equipped with a Level 2 self-driving system, where it can not only follow the speed of the vehicle in front, but it is also equipped with a variety of smart systems that help users, such as the Lane Keep Assist system, support system front and rear collision (Front/Rear Collision Mitigation Support), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and many more. All the indicators for this system can clearly be seen through the cluster screen display in front of the user, or through the HUD (Heads Up Display) projected on the windshield.

If the original plan was to charge at the location set by the organizers which is Ipoh, we continued our journey to Caltex Bukit Gantang where there is a Gentari 50 kW DC charger. We arrived with 29% battery left which could go 126km, however we still had 123km to go and we didn't want to risk running out of battery before reaching our destination.

Thus we have used around 56% energy with a travel distance of 259.7km which has used 14.5 kWh/100km with an average speed of 73 km/h which has taken 3 hours 32 minutes. It should be noted that we are still in the energy efficiency competition so if you feel 3 hours 32 minutes and just getting to Bukit Gantang is slow, yes it is slow. In fact, my personal speed when driving a petrol vehicle to arrive at Gunung Semanggul R&R from Jalan Duta is only 2 hours 30 minutes.

DC Charging Benefits And Hello Smart App Integration

If you drive an electric vehicle for long distances, DC fast charging is a must. AC charging which has a slower charging speed. With DC charging, you can charge as fast as 30 minutes while AC is limited to 22kW and takes a long time to fill the battery.

This Smart #1 Premium is equipped with a CCS2 charger and can receive 150 kW DC power and can charge 10% – 80% as fast as 30 minutes. It is also equipped with a 22kW AC charger, which allows charging from 10% – 80% in 3 hours. With the Gentari charger at Caltex Bukit Gantang, we only charged 8.833 kWh which is 12% capacity for 11 minutes for a fee of RM 13.99. With that 12%, we now have a 41% charge and have about 250km to reach our destination.

11 minutes is actually not a waste of time, and the rest session also includes going to the toilet, buying food and stretching the muscles. Therefore, the myth of 'wasting charging time because refueling only takes 5 minutes' can be said to be likely to happen if there are factors beyond control (such as fighting for chargers waiting for the previous vehicle to finish charging).

You don't need to fully charge to 100% if your destination has a charger, so how and where you take advantage of that fast charging is important for electric vehicle owners.

Another thing that Smart emphasizes is the integration of their application, the Hello smart App. Through it the user can activate the charger, without having to download the application from the charger provider. JomCharge, Gentari, or ChargEV charging stations, all of which can be used directly through the Helo smart App. Smart even gives recharge credits so you can use them all, before you intend to subscribe to another recharge plan, subject to promotions from the dealer.

One of the things I'm not sure about is that while the integration in the app is pretty good for charging with various charger providers, I can't find any options or ways through the settings in the car. If charging could be done through the car's control display, that would add real value to the integration.

From Mount Semanggol to Teluk Bahang – Sensitive Driver Monitoring Sensors

A car is a very complex device with various sensors and for an electric car, with the existing sophistication it has definitely loaded more sensors than usual. In our journey around Balik Pulau and exploring the hilly areas and plantations, a little strangeness was experienced. What happens is that with every turn made, the hands and turning of the steering wheel have somewhat covered the 'Driver Monitoring System' sensor or the driver monitoring system.

This system, which is located on the steering panel that does not move, is a camera that monitors the driver if the driver is tired and needs a break, and provides audio and visual warnings. But maybe because of the combination of long journeys and Takumi Fujiwara-style driving like driving a 'drift' in Balik Pulau, the warning became a little disturbing. However it can be turned off through the vehicle settings only I realized later.

Our vehicle is the 4th vehicle to arrive at Angsana Teluk Bahang, with an energy consumption of 14.0 kWh / 100km for a distance of 393.3km. The battery still has 14% remaining with a travel distance of around 54km. We have taken 6 hours 30 minutes and once again I want to remind you, the long time taken is because we want to win the energy efficiency competition, and thankfully our team won the competition.

From Teluk Bahang to COE Proton With Smart #1 Brabus – Impressive Acceleration Performance

On the second day, we returned to Proton's Center of Excellence using Smart #1 Brabus. This electric car with dual motors is also the best-selling model in the Malaysian market. Of the 500 units that have been ordered until November 2023, 60% of them are Brabus versions. We left with 83% charge and most of the driving time was in Brabus mode. The battery capacity is the same as the Premium version, which is 66kW, but the travel distance on a full charge is 400km WLTP, 40km less than the Premium because the Brabus version has two motors in the rear and front tires.

In the Brabus drive mode, the steering felt heavier and more agile to the point of making my passenger feel nauseous and dizzy. The same feeling is also felt by Nextrift editors who use the same model. He also expressed the feeling of the suspension system being more 'harder' when the Brabus mode was activated and feeling dizzy for the journey from Angsana Teluk Bahang to Smart Eleganz Lifestyle in Jelutong, Penang.

As a driver, you may not feel this effect because you are in the front and you are in control of the car. In addition to the power of electric motors in the front and back, making all accelerations more aggressive, and potentially making passengers uncomfortable. But as the name suggests, Brabus Mode is a powerful and fun driving mode.

For the drive home, since there are no more energy efficiency contests, we drove up to maximum speed and in terms of power delivery and acceleration, the car delivered the promised speed without any issues and we didn't experience any travel annoyances even though it was using the battery power without any problems. efficient.

We left Jelutong around 1:30pm and arrived at Caltex Bukit Gantang 50kW DC with battery around 47%. Compared to the previous day, this time we charged the battery up to 73% which took around 23 minutes and gave a travel distance of 293km. The charging price is RM 30.52. We also charge with the impression that we need to charge again around Ulu Bernam or Tanjung Malim, because we want to really test this vehicle.

The journey continued without any significant problems or travel annoyances because in my opinion, the estimated travel distance stated by Smart #1 is indeed smart in providing expectations and maybe also because of the presence of DC chargers along the PLUS highway. With that I feel less worried compared to the experience of driving the BYD Atto 3 Standard Range from Teluk Cempedak to KL which made me very angry about running out of battery.

We stopped for the last time at Petronas Gentari Ulu Bernam with 5% battery remaining which can only travel 18km. Up to this location, we have used a total of 70kWh of the battery at a rate of 21.3 kWh / 100km, a relatively high rate of energy consumption for a distance of 275.9km

At Petronas Ulu Bernam this is also a Gentari DC charger that can provide power up to 150kW if your car supports 800v, or limited to 120kW if your car only supports 400v. Even at this location, this Kempower brand DC charger also displays a charging graph where you can see the speed of the charger and also the energy capacity used. The video below shows how charging starts, and it can be seen that the charging speed increases until it reaches the limit set by the car.

In the picture above, the 120kW fast charging is seen only after 8 minutes. Before that the charging speed was less than 75kW due to the hot condition of the battery. For the same reason you can also see that in the first 3 minutes it charges at a speed of 60kW. Overall it only took us about 17 minutes to charge to 45% (26.585 kW) and the charge was RM 42.27.

Here it should also be noted, the battery charging price rate is different according to the terminal and also according to the speed of the charger. As we mentioned in a few paragraphs, JomCharge 50kW charging at Caltex Bukit Gantang takes 23 minutes (RM 30.52) and Petronas Ulu Bernam's 150kW Gentari charger takes 16 minutes (RM 42.27). Obviously there is a price difference depending on the power of the charger.

Continuing the journey to Proton's Center of Excellence, we didn't face any problem as with 45% battery we had a remaining travel distance of around 179km and it was more than enough. This time, our car was the first to arrive at the destination, although there were several other Smart cars that left earlier.

What Makes This Test Drive Different From The Past

In the previous test drive session, maybe I didn't have enough knowledge to overcome the annoyance of the trip, or maybe because the availability of chargers on the East Coast Highway was too few, making my experience a little less good than this Smart test drive session.

For this session, it can be said that at every charging stop that is done, it is aimed at sufficient driving distance only. Some vehicles of other media friends arrived late and had problems with not enough chargers causing them to wait up to 30 hours for their turn to charge. This is a common dilemma where the concept of 'who charges first' and planning to 'grab' the charger can be critical.

Another issue that arises from other media partners is the difference in charging status involving different charging providers (charging roaming). There is one vehicle that has a problem in the application, when the application states that two chargers are available, but the Smart application states that both chargers are in use, whereas the actual situation, one of the vehicles still cannot charge.

In the picture above, the ChargEV app says there is one charger available, but the Hello Smart App says both chargers are in use. The issue of standardizing the charger display that can be used on multiple applications needs to be resolved if EVs want to replace ICE vehicles.

And for the drive this time, my more aggressive driving style and not really worrying about the distance is the main satisfaction in driving the Smart #1 Brabus. The expected travel time is also more accurate and does not cause anxiety about the travel distance. Or maybe I'm being unfair for comparing the flagship car with the mid-spec BYD Atto 3 which has a price difference of RM100,000. Coupled with the difference factor of Lebuhraya PLUS facilities which have more DC charging compared to LPT which does not have many chargers.

Smart #1 Premium is sold at a price starting at RM 219,000 while Smart #1 Brabus is sold at a price starting at RM 249,000. Smart #1 Pro is sold at a price of RM 189,000 and for all these units also come with a long-term warranty such as an eight-year 200,000 km high-voltage battery warranty, an eight-year 150,000km high-voltage component warranty, a four-year vehicle warranty with no travel distance limit, warranty two-year spare parts with no mileage limit and even 24/7 roadside assistance.

What is certain from this experience, Smart #1 Brabus has set quite a high benchmark in terms of performance, with some quirks in terms of software but maybe for the next test drive session, I will try to drive another electric car like I drive the model from This smart.

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form