Smart Is #Back On the Roads

Smart is launching a new EV in a joint partnership with Chinese automaker Geely—and it's a stark contrast from old Smart cars.
Written by Allison Stone
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
When you think of Smart cars, you’re likely picturing the memorable pint-sized city cars that first gained popularity throughout Europe in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While the latest
electric car
from Smart might look quite a bit different than the
, the brand’s original intention to create cars that were compact, stylish and fuel-efficient remains true with the latest crossover. 
Originally operated under the Mercedes-Benz Cars division of Daimler AG, Smart was relaunched in 2019 as a 50/50 partnership with Chinese auto group Geely. The debut car from this joint venture is aptly named Concept #1, a prototype of which was unveiled at the 2021 International Motor Show Germany in Munich. 
According to a report by
Motor Authority
, the new Smarts are being developed in China, and are all being made with electric power.

A new kind of Smart car 

While not much has been revealed just yet about the specs of the #1, it will feature Geely's own Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), a modular, “open-source” electric-vehicle platform. According to Geely, the platform has a potential range of over 400 miles and can be adapted to subcompact, mid-size, SUV, and light commercial body styles. This is Geely’s first dedicated EV platform, and they seem eager to supply it to other manufacturers. 
Concept #1 also has a drag coefficient of .29 Cd. Keeping drag coefficient low and optimizing aerodynamics is essential to the design of electric cars, as any added weight or extraneous design elements can cut into the vehicle’s range and top speed. The #1 utilizes concealed door handles and active grille shutters to achieve this relatively low number. 
In terms of size and appearance, the new Smart car is closer to a sedan in length than Smart’s traditional minicars. A production version may even offer an option of third-row seats. At 168.9 inches, it’s a far cry from the 106.1 inch Fortwo, as Smart hopes to reach a more mainstream audience with the relaunch. 
If you’re looking to get this car in the U.S., however, you’ll be out of luck in the near future. Following the 2019 merger, Smart pulled out of production in the U.S. in 2020 and has no imminent plans to return stateside. U.S. markets lag in interest in electric cars, and with the wide-open spaces of American roads, larger cars like
pickup trucks
still reign in popularity.
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