Smart will show this Fortwo design study at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. Called – futuristically enough – the Smart Forvision concept car, it's a good stab at what 2014's new Fortwo could look like.
It's brimming with the sort of tech designed to keep the Fortwo's eco credentials alive and kicking. The titchy Smart has always been one of the greenest cars around on account of its diminutive size, and the next one will benefit from a host of new thinking to keep paring the grammes of mass and emissions.
Smart Forvision concept car: the lowdown
The Forvision uses the next-gen Smart electric drive system and Daimler says it adds around 20% to the range of today's electric Smart. The upgraded Smart ED should be seen in 2012 and will have an EV range of around 110 miles.
The rationale here is that every little helps, so there's an extraordinarily anal level of detail in every aspect of the Forvision's bodywork. The paint by chemical giant Basf, which is said to be production feasible, reflects heat as does the glass – helping to cool the Smart and require less air-conditioning. On a hot day, it can reduce the cabin temperature by a startling 20deg C.
The wheels are made from plastic, not metal, to keep the mass low; each rim saves 3kg over a conventional alloy, and Daimler has already started testing the tech with the hope of making them a production reality.
And look at the glass roof. Daimler is developing transparent solar charging technology, so that photovoltaic roof panels can be as clear as a panoramic sunroof rather than a dull techfest grey.
Wow. So it's a pretty detailed thing, the Forvision…
You bet. Even the headlamps have fans built into their centres, to help cool down the airflow, while the one-piece seats contain minute heating elements that only heat the targeted areas humans need rather than the whole damn chair.
Much of this thinking should percolate down to 2014's new Smart Fortwo. The carbon Tridion safety cell – an upgrade to the traditional Smart visible crash structure – shows that Daimler hopes to challenge BMW's i3 and its clever multi-material construction.
Many of the Forvision's body panels are made from carbonfibre-reinforced epoxy resin, including the doors. It's 50% lighter than steel, and a third lighter than aluminium.
The Fortwo will be the second joint project between Daimler and Renault, and will stick with a tiny two-door, rear-engined blueprint.
The first project from the new alliance will be 2012's four-door, four-seat car. It will spawn the next Renault Twingo and what is in essence a replacement for the unloved Smart Forfour.