Smart is out testing prototypes for a subcompact crossover it plans to reveal very soon.
The crossover will go by the name #1 (yes, complete with the hashtag symbol), and it’s the production version of the Concept #1 we saw last year at the inaugural Munich auto show.
The #1, as its name suggests, is the first of a new generation of Smart cars developed by Mercedes-Benz in partnership with Geely. The two established the 50:50 joint venture Smart Automobile in 2019, which is based in China and tasked with overseeing development and production of future Smarts.
Underpinning the vehicle is Geely’s SEA modular electric-vehicle platform, which brings support for fast charging and over-the-air updates. No specs have been revealed, but we know the vehicle has an impressive—for a crossover—drag coefficient of 0.29 Cd. Helping achieve this are design details like concealed door handles and active grille shutters.
Part of the development process has seen prototypes test at temperatures as cold as -40 degrees. There’s a system that ensures the battery is always operating at its ideal temperature, and future owners will be able to use this system to pre-heat the battery before heading out via an app.
The #1 will be part of a family of vehicles targeting the modern Mini lineup. We can imagine a ForTwo-style hatch also forming part of the lineup, and possibly a sedan.
Considering Smart pulled out of the U.S. in 2020, we don’t expect the brand to make a return here anytime soon. In other words, forget about seeing any of the new Smarts on local roads.