Smart has confirmed that the #1 name used on the concept version of its first SUV will continue into production, with ‘#’ also set to feature across the brand’s new range of electric vehicles.
The Smart Concept #1 made its debut at last September’s IAA MOBILITY show in Munich as the inaugural model of the brand’s new generation of all-electric vehicles. Standing 5.5 ft tall, 14 ft long and just over 6 ft wide, the near-production SUV, co-developed by Smart parent company Mercedes-Benz and Chinese conglomerate Geely, retained Smart’s representative two-tone paint scheme and short front overhang, but little else. Attention instead was on establishing Smart as a manufacturer of premium-yet-compact battery-electric vehicles ahead of the launch of its first EV in the second half of 2022.
Now, Smart Automobile Co., Ltd, established as a joint-venture towards the end of 2019, has confirmed that the ‘#’ nomenclature will be used across its new all-electric range, given that the symbol is “evocative of trendsetting in the digital era.”
“As the first product set to launch following the brand’s renewal, the smart #1 perfectly combines electric-drive technology and premium quality,” Smart VP of global sales Daniel Lescow explains in an official statement. “I am convinced that the smart #1 will enthuse future customers in both China and Europe, setting new trends of urban mobility and co-creating powerful brand experiences wherever it will make an appearance.”
It is not yet known whether future EVs will adopt the ‘#’ name numerically, à la Polestar, or whether, like BMW, each number will assign a vehicle’s place on Smart’s line-up.
Though Smart has confirmed the #1 sits atop Geely’s EV-dedicated Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), few details have been provided regarding the drivetrain, the brand confirming only that Smart has made a complete switch from internal combustion to electric-only propulsion. Focus instead has thus been on the aesthetics.
Penned by Mercedes-Benz’ global design team, the #1 adopts what Smart somewhat clumsily calls a ‘Sensual Producty’ streamlined philosophy, in stark contrast to the original Smart car unveiled in 1997. Energy consumption, range, wind and noise reduction, and stability at speeds have all been prioritized, with an aerodynamic silhouette, concealed handles on the scissor doors, and an Active Grille Shutter at the front (which opens and closes as needed to balance cooling with aero efficiency) resulting in an impressive drag co-efficient of 0.29. For context, Mercedes EQS’, the most aerodynamic road car on sale today, boasts a 0.20 rating.
Alongside the new naming structure, Smart has also confirmed extreme weather testing of the #1 is being conducted in the far north of China, with Smart’s engineering team examining the “robust” ECU and the temperature control system for the battery in sub 40-degrees.
Interestingly, given recent issues for Tesla which uses a similar design, the “ice breaking functions” of the concealed door handles are also being put to the test.
“Thanks to the seamless cooperation between smart and the Mercedes-Benz design team, the smart #1 is a masterpiece of engineering,” Smart VP of research and development Yang Jun continues. “The pre-market test results also prove the outstanding quality, performance and reliability of the smart #1. With the car due to launch later this year, these developments make us confident that it will be well received by its future customers.“