Now under partial Geely ownership, Smart has shown off a small electric SUV that’s due for production out of China in 2023.
Reborn as a pure-electric manufacturer, under joint ownership by Daimler and Geely, this is likely to be the first product from the cooperative.
Known only as Concept #1, at least for the moment, the company is no longer in the business of making minute city cars, for this is 4290mm long, roughly Golf sized, and is slightly taller than a Juke.
However, its 2750mm wheelbase is 100cm longer than Qashqai’s so think of this as a compact family hatch-sized offering. The concept is a four-seater but the real thing should tote five.
It’s expected that the Smart SUV will be underpinned by Geely’s new SEA all-electric platform that will also form the basis of a new baby Volvo. Daimler will handle the styling which will evidently have completely new design DNA. Think uber cool.
It will feature abbreviated overhangs while frameless doors and blacked-out A-pillars impart a ‘floating roof’ effect, enhanced by a full glass panel up top.
Other items include LED light strips front and rear, 21-inch alloys, rear-hinged back doors and concealed handles revealed by “light elements”. The car’s front grille features triangles of light that illuminate in time with your tunes.
Inside, there’s flat-floor storage between the front seats, a central 12.8-inch touchscreen, Beats audio, AI assistance and over-the-air updates for most of the vehicle’s processors. Expect self parking and autonomous motorway driving assistance.
Smart has not said anything about motive power but a battery capacity of 70kWh is likely, with power of around 200kW going to the rear wheels. A four-wheel-drive version is on the cards too.
This near-production study should be on the road within 18 months.