The smart family: Electrification of the entire model range

Feb 22, 2017

The new smart electric drive makes opting into electric mobility easier than ever as it combines the unique agility of the smart with local emission-free driving – the ideal match for urban mobility. Zero-emission driving fun can be experienced not only in the smart fortwo and smart fortwo cabrio, but for the first time also in the four-seater smart forfour. In future smart will be the only car manufacturer worldwide to offer its model range with both combustion engines and pure battery-electric drive.

Short overhangs, a minimal length and a high steering angle are optimal prerequisites for ensuring that the new smart models get around every corner and into every parking space. The new smart fortwo electric drive (length/width/height: 2.69/1.66/1.55 metres) sets a new turning circle benchmark: at 6.95 m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30 m (from wall to wall) it makes turning manoeuvres extremely simple. The characteristic proportions offer outstanding visibility and manoeuvrability and, together with the rear engine, enable a passenger cell to be realised with an unrivalled amount of space for such compact dimensions.

The new smart generation introduced in 2014 is characterised by a one-and-a-half box design – an evolutionary development of the typical smart silhouette. The higher bonnet lends the smart a more grown-up and sportier character. The colour contrast between tridion cell and bodypanels is another characteristic feature of the smart brand.

The smart displays a friendly but self-assured face. A decisive feature of this friendly face is the signature smart grille with the large logo. The grille's perforated structure results from a honeycomb pattern. The honeycomb features a fading effect and becomes paler towards the outside.

The rhombic front lamps are truncated slightly at the top, producing an attractive sporty look. The U-shaped daytime driving lights add a characteristic design feature. In combination with the LED & Sensor package, the headlamps incorporate a welcome function: when the car is unlocked, the light in the headlamps pulsates, as if the smart were welcoming its owner.

"Loop" is the designers' name for the emotional sweep that features as a leitmotif in the interior, embellishing the dashboard and doors, for example. The sculptural dashboard itself consists of two sections – a bold and sensuous outer section which can optionally be covered with fabric, and a large, concave inner section incorporating the functional elements. In front of the dashboard, the instrument cluster and the infotainment centre with radio/navigation appear to hover as added elements.

The dashboard and the door centre panels in the three lines feature extensive fabric coverings. This high-quality textile surface is very pleasant to the touch and is reminiscent of the mesh inserts in modern sports shoes. The colour and material concept underscores the easy-going and charming character of the new smart generation.

The essential safety concept embodied so successfully by the preceding models has been retained. Like a nut, the interior is protected from harm by a rigid shell: the tridion safety cell. A high proportion of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steel is now used on the new smarts. In keeping with the Mercedes-Benz "real-life safety" philosophy, the focus in car-to-car crash tests was on compatibility with substantially larger and heavier vehicles. The new smart fortwo performed well in frontal collision with the S- Class.

The battery of the electric smart is housed centrally under the front seats – ideal for a low centre of gravity and balanced handling. It is supported by an all-round crash-absorbing frame. The frame structure is made of modern high-strength steel tubes that give the battery all-round protection with the profiles used and also absorb and distribute intrusion forces in the event of an accident.

Sound generator: safety in traffic-calmed zones

On account of its quiet drive the new smart electric drive is available with an acoustic presence indicator (optional extra). The sound generator is a cubic component on the right-hand side behind the radiator grille; it consists of a weatherproof loudspeaker and an integrated controller. It generates a smart-specific sound for the protection of other road users: This sound is speed-dependent. The pitch and volume increase as the vehicle speed increases. Above 30 km/h the sound is automatically deactivated, as rolling noise and wind noise predominate from this speed. The sound generator can be switched on and off with a switch on the left of the switch strip.

Advanced assistance systems further enhance safety and comfort. These include Crosswind Assist (standard) and Lane Keeping Assist (option). The smart electric drive models also have Active Brake Assist as standard.

A front axle design adopting elements from the former Mercedes-Benz C‑Class, a De Dion rear axle, long spring travel all round and an unprecedented small turning circle are the highlights of the chassis.

smart fortwo cabrio: the only cabrio with electric drive

Three cars in one: at the touch of a button the smart fortwo cabrio is transformed from a closed two-seater into a car with a large sliding canvas sunroof, or a fully-fledged cabriolet with the soft top completely open. This enables the fresh air driving experience to be adapted to the weather or the driver's mood. This flexibility offered by the "tritop" folding soft top and the removable roof bars is a special feature – and not just in this segment. At the same time, the new smart fortwo cabrio is the only true cabriolet in its vehicle class – and as an electric drive the only electrically powered cabriolet worldwide.

The smart fortwo cabrio (length/width/height: 2.69/1.66/1.55 m) is clearly recognisable as a member of the new smart generation: the third model also embodies the smart design philosophy of FUN.ctional design, defined by two poles – the heart and mind. The design idiom is clear, purist and very progressive. This includes the typical profile with ultra-short overhangs, the clear lines, shapes and surfaces and, of course, the tridion safety cell. With the grille in a fading honeycomb design and the rhombic headlamps, the face is unmistakably smart. The B-pillar is narrower than on the closed variant and the styling of the tridion safety cell is more progressive, giving the smart fortwo cabrio an even sportier and more forward-focused look.

smart forfour: variable four-seater with electric drive for the first time

The smart forfour is also available with electric drive, making smart the only car manufacturer worldwide to offer its model range with both combustion engines and all-electric drive.

The smart forfour (length/width/height: 3.49/1.66/1.55 m) shares many of its design features with the smart fortwo. The typical smart genes are thus recognisable from afar on the road: the striking door contours and the unique tridion cell. A characteristic swage line, such as is featured in the middle of the doors, underscores the brand image. The side view of the smart forfour reveals the same elements as the fortwo, but has a longer tridion cell as well as the additional door. The front and rear overhangs appear just as short as on the fortwo. The forfour's roof line slopes downward towards the rear in coupé style.

The smart forfour naturally offers the larger luggage compartment. The rear seat backrests can be folded down to produce a level load surface measuring 1285 x 996 mm with a cargo volume of up to 975 litres – the benchmark in its segment. The loading length with the front passenger seat backrest folded forward is also exceptional, at 2.22 metres.

And on top of all this, reversible cushions are optionally available for the rear seats in the forfour. The "readyspace" seats in the rear can be turned around and lowered substantially in next to no time to produce 12 cm more loading height inside, which is very simple to make use of thanks to the rear doors which open to an angle of almost 90 degrees.