Premiere of the smart Concept #1: preview of the first series-production model of the new smart generation
smart is entering a new era. The smart Concept #1 previewing at the IAA MOBILITY in Munich provides a clear insight into the first production model in smart’s new generation of all-electric vehicles. The SUV concept vehicle takes the smart brand into the high-growth small and compact car segment. The near-production smart Concept #1 transfers very compact exterior dimensions and the traditional smart design into a new vehicle concept with a significantly higher premium and high-tech claim. This is underlined by innovative details such as LED light strips at the front and rear with a rhythmic light show, ambient lighting including the footwell and a newly developed UI/UX concept with artificial intelligence. In true smart fashion, the interior of the electric SUV is very spacious in relation to its compact exterior dimensions.
The smart brand has been a pioneer of urban mobility since 1997. It stands for a sustainable and connected urban lifestyle. Its pioneering status was underlined again in 2019 when smart became the world's first car manufacturer to switch completely from a combustion engine to electric drive only. With the establishment of the joint venture, smart Automobile Co., Ltd. at the end of 2019, Mercedes-Benz AG and Geely Automobile Group are now turning to the next chapter in the company's history. The two equal partners are developing smart into a leading global provider of connected, battery-electric premium vehicles for demanding customer groups. The development of the next generation of smart vehicles will take place in Geely's global engineering network. The exterior and interior design will be created in the global Mercedes-Benz Design 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 of 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 characterised by progressive design, premium equipment and advanced technology.”
Exterior design: completely new design DNA
Painted glossy white, the smart Concept #1 is recognisable as a smart at first glance, but at the same time its progressive design is an impressive statement of the brand's transformation. “The new sporty Concept #1 is a redefinition of the smart brand in a very cool grown-up way," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler Group. “We have created a completely new design DNA that has the potential to establish smart as the leading design brand.”
Balanced proportions, a powerful sculpture, the usual short overhangs at the front and rear and a progressive design language characterise the SUV concept vehicle. One of the central design features is the large panoramic glass roof with a striking ring of light. The seamless transition to the windscreen and to the window surfaces of the frameless doors makes the roof appear to float above the body - an impression further enhanced by the atmospheric roof lighting. In exciting contrast to this visual lightness, striking design elements in anthracite and black in the lower body area emphasise the robustness of the sport utility vehicle. This is further accentuated by the distinctive 21-inch wheels with their unique design.
A first hint of the new dimension of digitalisation of future smart vehicles is provided by the concealed door handles, which are merely indicated by light elements. The rear doors of the smart Concept #1 are hinged at the back and open in the opposite direction from the front doors. This portal door concept makes it particularly easy to get in and out of the car. Plus, the absence of a B-pillar facilitates an unobstructed view of the generously dimensioned interior when the doors are open.
The LED head- and taillights, with their striking signatures, make a significant contribution to the unique and emotional appearance of the smart Concept #1. At the same time, they are fundamental components of an attention-grabbing light display around the vehicle. In this sophisticated orchestration of the exterior and interior lighting in harmony with specially arranged sound elements, the front light strip divides into small triangles which flicker in rhythm. Starting from the illuminated radiator grille, light effects also move in time to the music along the sides of the vehicle to the rear diffuser.
Interior: the comfort and space of a business sedan
Despite its compact exterior dimensions (length/width/height in mm: 4,290/1,910/1,698; wheelbase: 2,750 mm), the interior of the smart Concept #1 is extremely spacious thanks to its wheels positioned far out to the corners of the vehicle. The purpose-designed BEV architecture also means that, like the future five-seater production model, the four-seater study offers legroom and elbow room on par with vehicles from higher segments as well as plenty of storage space. The light streaming in through the panoramic glass roof further enhances the subjective sense of space and contributes significantly to the interior’s lounge-like atmosphere. Sophisticated details such as the ambient light integrated into the vehicle floor, or the extremely elegant air vents, underline the premium appeal of the new smart model generation.
One of the design highlights in the interior of the smart Concept #1 is the centre console, which floats between the front seats and merges seamlessly with the unique dashboard design. The central control element is the free-standing 3D touchscreen with a 12.8-inch display.
Technology: new smart generation based on purpose-built, battery-electric platform
The next generation of smart models will offer the highest level of dynamic handling and passive safety. Moreover, the platform gives the vehicles multiple further benefits. These include a long battery life and fast-charging functions as well as a wide range of cloud-based over-the-air updates for vehicle software, as well as state-of-the-art infotainment features and highly innovative driver assistance systems.
Digitalisation: extensive connectivity for maximum comfort and safety
The new smart model generation has a powerful central computer that controls the four main domains: infotainment, driver assistance systems, electromobility-specific functions and the electric/electronic vehicle architecture (E/E architecture). Thanks to dynamic OTA software updates, more than 75% of all ECUs can be updated remotely on an ongoing basis.
The range of functions to enhance comfort and safety is correspondingly extensive. For example, modern features such as a parking assistant, an evasive steering assistant, a motorway assistant and an emergency lane assistant will be available for the electric SUV. In terms of assistance systems, the next smart generation will be one of the leading all-electric vehicles in its segment.
The unique design of the control interface, which is shown for the first time in the smart Concept #1, is particularly user-friendly. A three-dimensional globe serves as the central menu item on the high-resolution 12.8-inch touchscreen. An AI avatar helps the user navigate through the menus and functions. Thanks to artificial intelligence, this virtual companion constantly learns from the user's behaviour and can thus adapt increasingly to their individual preferences.
The newly developed smart app for smartphones will also add to the high level of user convenience. It not only functions as a digital key, but also enables the seamless integration of various connected services and functions into the user's digital ecosystem. The premium sound system powered by leading audio brand Beats ensures perfect acoustics on board.
Sales: new sales model to match brand transformation
Parallel to the comprehensive digitalisation of its vehicles, smart is also undertaking an extensive revision of the sales structures for the new model generation. smart’s data-driven approach will redefine omnichannel commerce and enable it to engage directly with customers and fans, creating meaningful interactions at every touchpoint and offering a more transparent and convenient customer journey. Furthermore, by supporting the efforts of future retail partners, smart will enable them to focus even more on providing the best possible sales and after-sales service experience. Targeted data-driven solutions will meet customers' individual needs in pre-sales, in-sales and after-sales, thus further improving the overall user experience both offline and online.
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Head of Public Relations and Communications smart Europe GmbH