Smart has unveiled the first model of its bolstering EV product line – the #1 compact SUV – marking the first production model from the Daimler-Geely owned company since its full switch to electric propulsion in 2019.
“We are very proud to finally present the production version of our Smart #1,” Smart Europe CEO Dirk Adelmann explains. “It is not only a symbol for our new smart approach, but it is also the nucleus of all things to come. With the re-branding we will put an even greater focus on a seamless mobility experience.”
The first example of Smart’s new ‘#’ nomenclature, which will position the vehicles chronologically rather than by segment on the lineup, the #1 is built on parent company Geely’s EV-dedicated SEA platform, as, it is expected, Smart’s future upcoming models also will be. Shaped by “new design, new technology and a new approach to create an urban companion,” the #1 measures a sizeable 4,270 mm – around 14 ft – in length with a 2,750 mm (9 ft) wheelbase, and 1,822 mm (5.9 ft) wide, a stark contrast to the SMART Fortwo introduced for 1998 with which the company’s former guise is synonymous.
A single electric motor powers the rear wheels, and will be mated on the launch specification model with a 66 kWh battery to produce 200 kW (268 hp) and 343 Nm (253 lb ft) of torque, enough for the 1,8290 kg crossover to hit 180 km/h. The estimated electric range is between 420 and 440 km.
With rapid DC charging capacity, the battery – with CCS port – can be topped up from 10 to 80 per cent in less than 30 minutes, though this stretches to around three hours if an AC charger is used. It’s also expected than a smaller capacity battery will be available down the line in an entry level #1.
Developmental focus though has concentrated largely on connectivity and premium cabin civility in an effort to create a ‘dual-home’ environment. The crossover is the largest SMART production model to-date, and, standing at just a shade over 5 ft tall, is comparable in-size to a MINI Countryman. The four-seater cabin though – down, interestingly, from the five-seater concept – is said to be more spacious.
Notable elements of the interior include the panoramic ‘halo’ sunroof, the floating centre console, and the high definition 12.8-inch touchscreen, which dominates the dashboard. The latter also features a voice-activated avatar Smart explains will act as an “intelligent companion” for cabin occupants on the move. Interestingly, so focused is Smart on the cabin’s connectivity, 75 per cent of the #1’s userface ‘ecosystem’ can be upgraded simultaneously when an over-the-air update becomes available.
The exterior design, overseen by the Mercedes-Benz Group and which retains much of the styling of the concept #1, highlights Smart’s future design language. Signature elements include the sleek roof design, the frameless doors and concealed door handles, and the slick headlamps and tail lamps. 19-inch wheels will be available as standard.
“The new smart #1 stands for the re-start of the smart brand and showcases our new design DNA of Sensual Producty”, Mercedes Group chief design officer Gorden Wagener continues. “It is grown up, cool and embodies beauty with smart solutions. Therefore, it is new, fresh, and enchanting. Our new Smart #1 has the potential to make smart a leading design brand.”
With production set to begin later this year, customer deliveries of the #1 compact SUV are expected to begin in early 2023 in Europe. No prices have been confirmed, though Volkswagen’s new ID.3 and Hyundai’s Kona are likely to be among the #1’s main rivals.