The two-seater has no roof or side windows and features a low wind deflector instead of a windshield in the style of a classic aircraft. The result is an incomparable fresh air driving experience coupled to electric drive.
"The smart forspeed is a completely new take on how much fun it is to drive electric,” said Dr Annette Winkler, Head of smart. “the concept boasts a superb design with a powerful drive system and, needless to say, locally emission-free. And if you put the smart forspeed next to our ebike, escooter and smart fortwo electric drive, you'll see smart has realized many variations of electric driving."
The second-generation smart fortwo electric drive has been sold to customers since the end of 2009. It has proved its suitability for everyday use in 18 countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, France, Switzerland, the USA, Canada and countries in Asia. Due to the high demand, production numbers have been increased to 1500 vehicles. And thanks to this experience, smart has collected extensive customer feedback that has been integrated in the development of the forspeed's electric drive.
With its improved performance and charge management, the concept vehicle offers a look at the performance potential of future generations of the electric smart.
For example, the smart forspeed accelerates from 0-37mph in 5.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 75mph.
A 30kW magneto-electric motor is installed at the rear of the smart forspeed. Pressing a button in the center console activates a boost function which provides an extra 5kW of power for a short time, ideal for overtaking on urban highways, for example.
The smart forspeed is powered by a lithium-ion battery that delivers 16.5kWh of energy. It is simple to charge at any conventional 220 Volt socket. The charging device is located in the third brake light behind the smart logo. A fully charged battery is sufficient for 84 miles of driving (NEDC). Quick charging up to 80 percent takes just 45 minutes. The forspeed developers have integrated a further clever way of charging in the wind deflector: photovoltaic cells feed solar power to the on-board electrical system. As with the smart escooter, this lengthens the battery life of the smartphone, for example.
With its high-gloss white metallic paintwork the smart forspeed also builds a bridge to the two-wheel escooter and ebike studies that were presented at the Paris Motor Show.
The front and rear lamps have a striking design. The outer rings are illuminated by a number of rod-shaped LEDs, while the center of the lamps is white. The indicators seem to push outwards like arrows. In the bumpers, numerous holes with a honeycomb structure serve as air inlets and create a progressive pattern. At the same time, this pattern gives the forspeed a wide appearance and a powerful stance. The smart forspeed is fitted with 205/35 R18 front tires and 235/30 R18 on the driven rear axle.
The exterior and interior were designed as a formal unit. This is manifested in the tridion safety cell that flows from the outside behind the roll-over bars towards the front to the cockpit to form the center tunnel as a load-bearing part.
The leather seats have a one-shell design and are a modern interpretation of sportiness.
The air inlet in the wind deflector ends in the central outlet in the center console and can provide even more fresh air for the interior when needed.
The high-gloss white exterior paintwork also dominates the interior. It is accentuated by green elements such as the four-point seatbelts or the large horizontal shelf under the dashboard that provides stowage space.
All the control elements that the driver uses frequently, such as the gear lever, door openers or steering wheel come in natural brown leather. By contrast, load-bearing structural components such as the tridion safety cell or the curved trims on the instrument hoods are matte platinum silver.
Functional elements such as the steering wheel buttons and the shift lever with gate are painted in silver shadow. The open two-seater has been deliberately designed without an exterior door handle – an interior grip is all that is needed to open the door. The control for the electric parking brake is particularly convenient to operate and also has a simple and functional design: the switch on the center tunnel is reminiscent of the lever used to pull in the landing gear of aircraft.
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, only the outline of the charge indicator is seen. The interior can be protected against rain and sun 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.
But even without weather protection, a downpour will not lead to any serious problems. Water drainage channels in the floor ensure water is channeled outside. The seat surfaces also have water drainage channels and all interior equipment has a waterproof coating. While the driver has the speedometer in his field of vision, the passenger is responsible for communication and navigation: so this side of the cockpit features a smartphone. It can be swiveled by up to 90 degrees towards the driver, so the driver also look at the navigation display.
As in smart production models, the smart drive app for the iPhone has all the important features needed while driving: hands-free phone calls, navigation with a smart touch, and a Car Finder that guides the driver back to the parked car.
With its body made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic, the smart forspeed is a real lightweight. The low power-to-weight ratio is conducive to driving pleasure. Moreover, the two-seater boasts excellent aerodynamics: round, taut forms, a deliberate lack of joints (for example on the single-piece front module), smooth surfaces on the doors without handles and many details based on aircraft construction to reduce aerodynamic resistance.
State-of-the-art LED technology contributes to active safety. Furthermore, it is intelligently controlled: daytime running lamps are automatically activated during the daytime. The Citylight system also senses when day turns into night: photoelectric sensors monitor the brightness and give the command to automatically switch on the low-beam headlamps when necessary.