New Smart #1 electric crossover confirmed for 2022 launch

9 months, 2 weeks ago - 13 February 2022, autocar
New Smart #1 electric crossover confirmed for 2022 launch
Munich concept will evolve into urban EV brand's first SUV, with platform supplied by co-owner Geely

Smart is embarking on a radical product strategy under new 50% co-owner Geely, and will soon reveal the production version of the Concept #1 it showed at the Munich motor show, which has been officially named the #1 ahead of its market launch later this year. 

Shown in its production body in official testing images, the #1 looks to have evolved very subtly from last year's concept.

 It is the first in a wave of models planned under Smart's rebirth as "a premium all-electric automotive technology brand", each of which will adopt a # nameplate in a reflection of the brand's ambition to recapture its historic image as a "trendsetter".

The testing programme has revealed that the #1 has a drag coefficient of 0.29Cd, which Smart says is "a top-ranked achievement" in its segment. Concealed door handles, an active grille shutter and heavily curved edges help to minimise air resistance – thereby enhancing efficiency. 

Smart said, even in temperatures of -40degC, the battery control system "maintains the optimum working condition for the battery", suggesting the car's range will not be dramatically affected by extreme conditions. 

Smart's debut bespoke EV takes the form of a compact electric crossover with premium aspirations and an emphasis on advanced technology. Measuring 4290mm long, 1910mm wide and 1698mm tall, it’s a close match in size terms for parent company Mercedes-Benz’s EQA electric crossover. 

The SUV will herald the beginning of an important new era for the brand, during which Geely will manage the engineering side of model development and Mercedes the design. 

It’s clearly recognisable as a Smart but has evolutionary design elements that seek to promote a “cool, grown-up” brand image, according to design boss Gorden Wagener. 

Its defining features include short overhangs at each end, a panoramic sunroof, frameless doors and contrasting black lower body elements that emphasise its “robustness”.

The rear-hinged doors are opened by touch-sensitive light panels, rather than handles, which, along with distinctive LED clusters at each end and a unique interior lighting set-up, contribute to the concept’s “attention-grabbing light display”. 

Smart says that the wheels being pushed out to the very corners of the car and the 2750mm wheelbase allow for an “extremely spacious” interior, which will gain a fifth seat for production. 

Elbow room, leg room and storage space are all said to be on a par with vehicles in higher segments, while the ‘floating’ centre console, lack of B-pillars and glass roof air out the cabin. 

Technical details remain under wraps, but future Smart models will sit on a Geely-developed bespoke EV platform that promises “the highest level of dynamic handling and passive safety”. 

Rapid charging, long battery life and over-the-air software update support will also be features of the new product line-up.

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