Smart to debut electric-powered Forspeed concept

22 Feb 2011

Smart Forspeed (7)

Smart may not have launched much in the past few years now but the firm is back in the headlines with the Forspeed concept, which will be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Thanks to a 30kW motor it accelerates from 0 to 37 mph in 5.5 seconds with zero tailpipe emissions.

The firm has used feedback from customers who have been driving its second generation Smart Fortwo electric drive since it was introduced at the end of 2009. This has been integrated in the development of the smart Forspeed's electric drive. With its improved performance and charge management the concept vehicle offers a look at the potential of future generations of the electric Smart.

The electric-powered two-seater has no roof or side windows and features a low wind deflector instead of a windscreen. The electric drive that has been further developed and now features a boost function. Pressing a button in the centre console activates the boost function which provides an extra 5kW of power for a short time and is ideal for overtaking.

The Smart Forspeed is powered by a lithium-ion battery that delivers 16.5 kWh of electrical energy. It is simple to charge at any conventional 220 Volt socket. The charging point is located in the third brake light behind the smart logo and features a simple push/push opening mechanism. A fully charged battery is sufficient for 84 miles of driving. Quick charging from 0 to 80 percent takes just 45 minutes.

Smart Forspeed (8)

The styling is certainly striking, most notable the front and rear lights. The outer rings are illuminated by a large number of rod-shaped LEDs while the centre of the lights are white. It's also fitted with unusual 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, all the controls that the driver uses frequently, such as the gear lever, door handles and steering wheel come in natural brown leather. By contrast, load-bearing components such as the tridion safety cell or the trim on the instruments are in matt platinum silver.

The open two-seater has been deliberately designed without an outer door handle - an interior grip is all that is needed to open the door. There is a block with ten LEDs in the middle of the instrument panel. When the forspeed is started the LEDs shine through the translucent paint and show the battery charge status of the electric smart. When switched off noting is seen of the charge indicator except its outline.

The whole interior of the Forspeed can be protected against rain with a tonneau cover. It is easy to stretch it over the interior and fasten it to the body with the straps. It can be divided in the middle with the help of a zip to free the driver's seat only, for example. But even without weather protection a downpour will not lead to any serious problems. Water drainage channels in the vehicle floor ensure that water is channelled outside. The seat surfaces also have water drainage channels and all interior equipment has a waterproof coating.

As in the production models from Smart, the Smart drive app for the iPhone has all the important features needed while driving: phone calls via hands-free system, navigation with a special smart touch and a Car Finder that guides the driver back to the parked car.

Smart Forspeed (6)


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