As the Smart prepares to unveil its all-new # 1, the cabin of the compact all-electric SUV has been given an unofficial initial preview with the latest set of spy shots.
Although parts of the interior of the # 1 are covered in images, we can clearly see that the cabin follows closely the concept # 1, which serves as a preview of the brand new model.
There is a Y-shaped lower element for the dashboard, which flows into a significant center console. Above the two slim air vents is a large infotainment screen, which resembles the size of a show car’s 12.8-inch display.
Contrary to concept # 1, though, it looks like there might be a small digital instrument cluster. Also, discovered by a close-up shot of the speaker grille, this special # 1 has a Beats audio system.
The three-spoke steering wheel is conceptual, as is the design of the seat, albeit with different headrests. The glossy white trim pieces can probably be found here in countless finishes.
Recent external shots, meanwhile, do not show us much of what we have not seen before through leaked patent drawings and official images of pre-prototypes through cold-weather testing in China. All of these reveal a slight evolution of the pattern established by the # 1 concept.
Small changes include a proper bonnet, a new-look lower grille section and smaller, road-ready wheels. Surfacing and vehicle ratios though closely aligned with the concept.
Smart confirms that the design places a special emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency, a drag coefficient of 0.29 that is achieved by touch like flush-fit door handles, and an active grille that can open and close both standard features of the new car.
In February, Smart confirmed that its compact all-electric SUV would be named Smart # 1 if sold by the end of 2022, teasing the model in some official winter test shots before its full release on April 7.
The new model has been given the responsibility of rebooting the brand under the joint Mercedes Group-Gili ownership. The brand has confirmed that the # 1 name is a significant part of this reboot, as Smart will move to a numbered naming for its cars and stay away from the previously designated ForTwo and ForFour naming conventions.
The use of a hashtag in the name is intended to denote the brand’s youth, and the company hopes that the change in strategy will re-emerge the Smart as a ‘trendsetting’ mark, with a similar effect when the brand launches. 1997 with the original Smart City Coupe.
At last year’s Munich Motor Show, Smart stated that the concept # 1 “Smart has unveiled a clear insight into the first production model of the new generation all-electric car” – and that the company is moving away from its city-car offer.
The # 1 is a compact SUV, larger than the brand’s current offerings, just over four meters long and will compete with smaller electric SUVs like the Peugeot e-2008 and the Vauxhall Mokka-e.
The concept has four seats, but the production model will accommodate five people, an interior using a brand new cabin architecture and new technology, including the huge central display seen in the spy shots.
Gili is leading the car in technological development, and while Smart hasn’t confirmed a choice of architecture, it’s sure to use SEA – a new all-electric platform that will underpin Chinese-market models as well as an upcoming baby model. From Geely-owned brand Volvo.
Smart has not released technical data but the SEA platform is said to support battery sizes between 58kWh and 100kWh; # 1 Probably gives a battery around 70kWh, which gives a real-world range of over 200 miles.
While the platform can accommodate dual-motor setups producing more than 500bhp, the Smart may have a single motor offer of around 260bhp mounted on the back of the smartphone, which will usually help provide tight turning circles.
A new joint-venture factory in Xi’an, the # 1 city in China, is expected to be built alongside the Smart Forto and Forfor’s electric successors, with a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year.
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