The all-electric SUV is just slightly shorter than a Kia Seltos.
Smart – famous for building small city-friendly microcars – has taken the covers off its biggest and heaviest model ever: a “near-production” electric SUV known as the Concept #1.
Underpinned by Geely‘s Sustainable Experience Architecture – given Geely and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler are co-owners of the brand – the new vehicle measures 4290mm from nose to tail. That’s about 15 per cent longer than Smart’s former largest model, the 2004 ForFour, and approximately the same size as a Kia Seltos.
Performance specifications are yet to be confirmed, however the platform reportedly offers a range of ‘up to’ 700km. Recharging times should also be impressive, thanks to an 800-volt system.
The concept’s monocoque body – which is made of composite materials, likely including aluminium – rides on large 21-inch wheels, presumably to replicate the proportions of its tiny predecessors.
Inside the cabin, four leather-trimmed seats are mounted under an expansive sunroof. A “floating” metal centre console is positioned in between the front two occupants.
Infotainment comes via a 12.8-inch touchscreen mounted to the dashboard, and, according to the manufacturer, this will also serve as an interface for “highly innovative driver assistance systems.”
The new model is expected to be built in Xi’an, China, and Smart claims production could begin as soon as 2022, with left- and right-hand drive production expected.
However, don’t expect to see the new model in Australia anytime soon – Smart pulled out of the local market in 2015 due to poor sales, and a spokesperson for Daimler recently told Drive: “We are always open-minded and evaluate each new vehicle that becomes available to us, but at this stage there is nothing new to announce about the Smart brand.”
William Davis has written for Drive since July 2020, covering news and current affairs in the automotive industry. He has maintained a primary focus on industry trends, autonomous technology, electric vehicle regulations, and local environmental policy. As the newest addition to the Drive team, William was brought onboard for his attention to detail, writing skills, and strong work ethic. Despite writing for a diverse range of outlets – including the Australian Financial Review, Robb Report, and Property Observer – since completing his media degree at Macquarie University, William has always had a passion for cars.