Smart’s electrified future has been previewed at the 2021 Munich auto show by the Concept #1. This snazzy-looking small crossover is the first fruit of Daimler AG’s equal partnership with Geely, the parent company of Volvo Car Group, Polestar, and Lotus. Mercedes-Benz is responsible for the design while the engineering work was done by Geely’s global research and development network.
“We’re celebrating an important milestone with the smart Concept #1, which is the forerunner of the next smart generation,” says Daniel Lescow, Vice President Global Sales, Marketing & After-Sales at smart Automobile Co, Ltd. “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.”
The smart Concept #1 evolves the brand’s design language while keeping this familiar. Overhangs are short and their proportions are balanced, giving it an attractive look despite its tiny footprint. Its two-tone white and bronze exterior allows it to pop while the glass roof should give the interior a more open atmosphere. Smart also attempted to make the windows and windshield blend together with the glass roof. The door handles have been concealed and have suicide doors, which is hinted at by the lack of B-pillars. Black contrast body cladding adds to the rugged look while the 21-inch alloy wheels further accentuate that. New LED triangular headlights and taillights connected by a single strip complete the brand’s next design language together with an enclosed grille surrounded by bronze accents.
At 168.8 inches long, 75.1 inches wide, and 66.8 inches tall, the smart Concept #1 is quite large. Its dimensions land squarely in subcompact crossover territory because it’s similar in size to vehicles like the Jeep Renegade, Mini Countryman, and Nissan Kicks.
Step inside and you’ll find a floating center console and four individual seats (the production version will be a five-seater). The flat floor provides additional space and allows smart to create a roomy interior despite the Concept #1’s compact exterior dimensions. A 12.8-inch display serves as the centerpiece of the dash while ambient lighting is used to create a lounge-like atmosphere.
Smart hasn’t revealed much with regards to the Concept #1’s specifications but promises that it has a long driving range and fast charging capability. It will feature the latest driver assistance features, over-the-air update capability, and a new infotainment system. All of the crossover’s main functions and its electric and electronic architecture are controlled by a powerful central computer. To add extra convenience, the new smart app will allow you to use your mobile phone as a key and access different functions, which will be part of a digital ecosystem. You’ll also be able to get an upgraded audio system from Beats.
The new generation of smart vehicles, one of which will be the production version of the Concept #1, will be sold via direct sales. This is to make the process more transparent and convenient for consumers. If you’re looking to see the final iteration of the smart Concept #1 in the U.S., don’t hold your breath. While it will go on sale in Europe and China, the U.S. won’t get the car since Daimler pulled smart out in 2019 after years of struggling sales. Currently, smart offers a battery-electric version of the Fortwo and Forfour in other global markets.