With only one model on sale in North America, smart has used the 2012 Detriot Auto Show to unveil a new urban pickup concept designed to challenge what this sort of vehicle should represent.
With electric drive and very small proportions, it's aimed at drivers who are concerned about emissions and taking up minimal road space.
The exterior dimensions (length/width/height: 139.6/59/67") mean it could almost fit into the bed of a typical pickup, and its 55kW magneto-electric motor ensure it won't be a gas-guzzler either.
With an eye on its car2go car sharing in key global cities, smart is eyeing the pickup as an intelligent mobility concept in city traffic. It has room for two people and space in the rear for cargo such as the two smart ebikes.
Thanks to the docking station in the bed, the bicycle batteries are always charged and enable for-us drivers to reach destinations that might be out of bounds for cars - such as pedestrian zones in the city or isolated trails.
Compared with the current production fortwo, the smart for-us plays with the image of conventional large-size pickups, especially with its chunky front-end and protective underbody guard.
The longer wheelbase, and the track that has been widened 2" on each side, also emphasize the robustness of the study. At the same time, the short overhangs make it exceedingly compact.
The tailgate is electrically driven. When it opens, the cargo floor including tailboard retracts, then the tailgate slides down in a parallel position, making the cargo area easy to access.
The exterior surfaces are finished in mother-of-pearl white combined with technical elements in brushed aluminum. Inside, the cockpit boasts aerodynamic ventilation. In place of a rearview mirror the smart for-us has a smartphone accommodated in a holder on top of the instrument panel support. The driver can see what is happening behind with the help of an integrated video camera.
The two seats shells are open in the middle and covered with a soft yellow fabric throw giving them a hammock-like feel.
The electric drive is based on the smart fortwo electric, which will be launched from the spring of 2012. The 55kW magneto-electric motor has 96 lb-ft of torque for powerful, lag-free acceleration that can exceed 75mph from the lithium-ion battery capacity of 17.6kWh.