Smart Concept #1 electric SUV unveiled: production version to arrive in 2023
Smart’s eventual rival to the Hyundai Kona Electric and Vauxhall Mokka-e previewed in new Concept #1, revealed at the Munich Motor Show
Smart is currently one of the few mainstream brands without a compact SUV in its line-up. That is until the production version of its newly unveiled electric SUV concept car, the Smart Concept #1, arrives in 2023 when it’s expected to rival the likes of the Vauxhall Mokka-e, Peugeot e-2008 and Hyundai Kona Electric.
The near-production Smart Concept #1 features some carryovers from earlier Smart models, such as a two-tone paint job with a contrasting roof that seems to ‘float’ above the cabin, plus 21-inch alloy wheels, a smooth, minimalist front bumper, a full-width lightbar across the rear plus short overhangs to maximise interior space. Whether or not the production version will also get a set of coach doors is unclear.
Inside, the Concept #1 features a four-seater layout but Smart has said the production version will seat five. Both versions will offer the same amount of cabin space as much larger vehicles, and plenty of storage space, too. The electric SUV concept also features a panoramic sunroof and 12.8-inch ‘floating’ central infotainment touchscreen.
The new electric SUV is expected to kickstart the brand's revival under the co-ownership of Chinese automotive group Geely. According to Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for the Daimler Group: “The new sporty Concept #1 is a redefinition of the Smart brand in a very cool grown-up way.
“We have created a completely new design DNA that has the potential to establish smart as the leading design brand.”
Under the metal, the Smart SUV will use an electric-vehicle platform developed by Geely that will underpin a wide range of models from various brands in its empire, including the Lynk & Co Zero and some future electric Volvos. Smart didn’t disclose any performance, battery size or range figures for either the Concept #1 or the production version, however.
The architecture it's to be based on can support single, dual or triple-motor layouts, as well as sufficient battery capacity for around 400 miles of driving range. Smart’s forthcoming electric SUV is likely to feature a single electric motor, rapid charging capabilities and be capable of covering around 200 miles on a single charge. That would be enough to make it competitive on paper against rivals like the Vauxhall Mokka-e or the entry-level version of the Hyundai Kona Electric.
Pricing is another aspect of the production model that remains unconfirmed for now, but Smart says it wants to remain an accessible brand, so its electric SUV will probably start from around £30,000 based on its rivals’ price tags.
Smart’s forthcoming electric SUV isn’t the first zero-emissions model the brand has launched, with its current line-up including the Smart EQ ForFour and Smart EQ ForTwo city cars, the latter of which is also available in convertible Cabrio form, too.
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