IAA Mobility saw the unveiling of Smart’s “near production” Concept #1, the first production model in Smart’s new generation of all-electric vehicles. Since 1997, Smart has pushed the boundaries in terms of small car packaging, safety and design and their intention is to continue this pioneering spirit with their partnership with Geely Automobile Group. Along with Mercedes-Benz AG, the two equal partners’ goal is to develop Smart into a “leading global provider of connected, battery-electric premium vehicles for demanding customer groups.”
Geely’s global engineering network will handle the development of the vehicles, while exterior and interior design will be managed within the global Mercedes-Benz Design network.
Daniel Lescow, Vice President Global Sales, Marketing & After-Sales of smart Automobile Co, Ltd said, “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.”
The Concept #1 is an SUV transfers Smart’s signature compact exterior dimensions an design language into a new vehicle concept with a significantly higher premium and high-tech air about it. Front and rear LED light strips with a rhythmic light show, as well as ambient lighting in the footwell and a newly developed UI/UX concept with artificial intelligence are highlights of the Concept #1.
Another highlight is the centre console which floats between the front seats, merging seamlessly with the interesting dashboard design. The free-standing 3D touchscreen with a 12,8-inch display forms another key element in the Concept #1’s interior.
Fast charging, over-the-air updates and long battery life have been mentioned, with infotainment, driver assistance systems, electromobility-specific functions and the electric vehicle architecture all being managed by one computer. As such, 75 per cent of the vehicle’s ECU’s can be updated over-the-air.
Omnichannel commerce seems to be the next big buzzword, around which Smart’s new sales structures will be modelled. A data-driven approach will be taken, promising a more meaningful, transparent and convenient customer journey. Think of it in the same way that BMW SA and Mercedes-Benz SA have remodelled their retail network.
There’s no confirmation on local availability or news on the Concept #1 in relation to South Africa.