Detroit 2012: Smart For-Us Concept
By Seyth Miersma
January 09, 2012
Determined to prove that it has staying power in the North American car market, Smart is preparing to show an all new concept cat to show goers here at the North American International Auto Show this year. Dubbed the Smart For-Us, the diminutive Euro is the company’s interpretation of an “iconic American pickup” and is powered with an electric motor.
The For-Us is a rather high-fashion take on the truck concept, though it does seem to add the type of cargo-carrying ability and versatility that is conspicuously absent form the tiny Fortwo coupe. The three-foot cargo area is accessible via a power tailgate that also retracts by eleven inches when opening, to make loading/unloading that much more simple.
The electric drive system (familiar to anyone who read our review of the Smart Fortwo EV), is fueled by a lithium-ion battery, powered by a 55-kilowatt magneto- electric motor, and is theoretically good for a top speed of over 80 miles per hour.
Have a look at the For-Us in the attached gallery of images, and look for our live shots of the car, after Smart pulls the wrapper off this morning. You’ll also find Smart’s full press release, below.
World Premiere of smart for-us Pickup Set for Detroit Show
Demonstrating once again its versatility and innovation, smart has announced that it will unveil a new concept called the “for-us,” during the press preview to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit’s Cobo Center (open to the public January 14-22, 2012). The electric drive for-us takes the shape of the iconic American pickup.
Intended to challenge ideas about how a “right-sized” urban pickup might look and perform, the for-us translates the practical load layout of a pickup to the reality of 21st century urban traffic. With its small outside dimensions, it could almost go unnoticed in the bed of a typical American pickup. Under the body, it’s anything but ordinary: state-of-the-art all-electric power with a 55-kilowatt magneto-electric motor, the for-us is agile and lively to drive.
Dr. Annette Winkler, smart CEO, says, “We at smart love pick-ups – if they are small on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable. With the smart for-us a petrol station is no longer required!”
The smart for-us has plenty of room for two people and, behind them, for two smart ebikes. Thanks to the convenient docking station in the cargo bed, the ebike batteries are always charged, enabling smart for-us passengers to reach destinations that are out of bounds for cars, for example, park trails and restricted zones in cities.
a sassy, powerful design
The for-us pickup makes a powerful design statement, playing on the macho image of conventional mega-pickups. At the same time, it greets viewers with a friendly, confident face. With convex and sensuous body shapes, the for-us features a pronounced three-dimensional look, complete with a smart emblem on the grille and an underride guard that finishes off the front end.
Inside, the cockpit design boasts aerodynamic design for exceptional interior ventilation, with taut surfaces in mother-of-pearl white contrasting with brushed aluminum working parts,. Stylish yet uncomplicated, the two seats in the concept car are typically smart – highly functional and easy to customize. Open in the middle, the seat shells are covered with a soft fabric, giving them a hammock-like seating feel. Instead of a conventional rear-view mirror, an integrated video camera displays the area behind the car on a smart phone that’s mounted on a special bracket above the dash.
Compared with a production smart fortwo, the for-us has a wheelbase that’s two feet longer, and to emphasize its sturdy look, the track is two inches wider. At the same time, its extremely short front and rear overhangs make it very small overall. When its power tailgate opens, the cargo floor retracts 11 inches, making the three-foot cargo area easy to access.
The electric drive of the smart for-us is based on the fortwo electric drive model, which will be launched from the spring of 2012. Thanks to its 55-kilowatt magneto- electric motor, the smart for-us is nimble and lively to drive. With 96 pound-feet of torque, the for-us boasts powerful, responsive acceleration and a top speed over 80 mph. Its state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 17.6 kilowatt-hours of electric power.
smart, a Daimler AG brand, has its U.S. headquarters in Montvale, New Jersey. The smart model-line consists of five fortwo models: the pure coupe, passion coupe, passion cabriolet and all electric drive versions of the coupe and cabriolet. All 2012 smart models sold in the U.S. are covered by a four-year, 50,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty.
Classified as ultra-low emissions vehicles by the State of California Air Resources
Board, smart models are just under nine feet long, 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Despite their microcar exterior dimensions, smart vehicles are surprisingly roomy inside and have a full array of technological and safety features including the patented tridion safety cell which is designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision. All smart vehicles, designed to be 85% recyclable and over 95% reclaimable, are produced in the environmentally oriented “smartville” factory in Hambach, France. Additional information on smart can be found at www.smartusa.com.