I guess we should leave it to the time to tell us if the smart-Geely partnership was indeed a smart decision but as the old cliché goes— everything is fair in love and war; I mean, everything is fair in doing business and profits. And so, smart is moving on from making cute microcars to probably just another electric SUV maker. At present, the brand offers only the EQ fortwo in regular hatchback and convertible bodystyles. The forfour is dead, but the good news is that it continues to live on as the 3rd gen Renault Twingo.
But anyway, this strange contraption called smart Concept #1 that debuted at the IAA Mobility last year, is the result of the smart-Geely partnership. I guess you could say it’s a futuristic take on the forfour. smart describes the Concept #1 as a near-production concept that offers “a clear insight into the brand’s new generation of all-electric vehicles.” The entire front “grille” performs lighting animations, as are the headlights and taillights. The light bands at the front and rear dissolve into geometric shapes—mimicking fireworks. Watch the video below to understand better. Notice that the concept neither has the traditional door handles nor the flush-fitting ones we see in modern cars. Instead, it has virtual door handles that light up if you have the digital key (smartphone) with you.
The concept SUV also boasts a literal panoramic glass roof that extends from the front all the way to the back; 21-inch wheels with a unique “honeycomb” tread on the tyres; suicide doors; a 12.8-inch central touchscreen with 3D graphics; Beats audio system, and of course, more lighting inside. But thankfully, it retains the steering wheel and pedals, which is always a good thing.
The Concept #1 is built around Geely’s new Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) platform that underpins the Zeekr 001 that debuted last year. Which means, moving forward, smart products’ underpinnings will come from Geely, while Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) takes care of only the design (and maybe some onboard tech as well). For those interested to know, the crossover measures 4,290 mm long, 1,910 mm wide and 1,698 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,750 mm. Clearly, it is significantly larger than the forfour.
“The near-production study is an exciting taste of what our customers can expect from the smart brand. The new smart Concept #1 is the first glimpse of our vision of a new and sustainable mobility. It’s characterized by progressive design, premium equipment and advanced technology,” said Daniel Lescow, Vice President of global sales, marketing and after-sales at smart.