Smart #1 EV crossover’s cabin seen in new spy shots
As Smart prepares to reveal its all-new #1, the compact all-electric SUV’s cabin has been given an unofficial early preview via the latest set of spy shots.
Although some parts of the #1’s interior have been covered in the images, we can clearly see that the cabin closely follows that of the Concept #1, which served as a preview for the all-new model.
There’s a Y-shape lower element for the dashboard, flowing into a substantial centre console. Above two slim air vents is a large infotainment screen, which seems to be the same size as the show car’s 12.8-inch display.
Unlike the Concept #1, though, it looks like there may be a small digital instrument cluster. Also, as discovered by a close-up shot of the speaker grilles, this particular #1 has a Beats audio system.
The three-spoke steering wheel is very similar to the concept’s, as is the design of the seats, albeit with different headrests. The gloss white trim pieces here will likely be available in a myriad of finishes.
The latest exterior shots meanwhile don’t show us much we haven’t already seen via leaked patent drawings and official images of pre-production prototypes undergoing cold-weather testing in China. These all reveal a mild evolution of the design established by the concept #1.
Small changes include the incorporation of a proper bonnet, a new-look lower grille section and smaller, road-ready wheels. The surfacing and the proportions of the vehicle closely align with the concept though.
Smart has confirmed that the design places a particular emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency, with a drag coefficient of 0.29 achieved by touches like flush-fit door handles, and an active grille with intakes that can open and close both standard features of the new car.
In February, Smart confirmed that its compact all-electric SUV will take on the name Smart #1 when it arrives on sale towards the end of 2022, teasing the model in some official winter testing shots ahead of its full reveal on 7 April.
The new model is tasked with rebooting the brand under joint Mercedes Group-Geely ownership. The brand has confirmed that the #1 name is a significant part of this reboot, as Smart will move to a numbered nomenclature for its cars, and away from the ForTwo and ForFour naming convention previously employed.
The use of a hashtag in the name is intended to signify the youthfulness of the brand, and the company hopes that the change in strategy will see Smart re-emerge as a ‘trendsetting’ marque, with a similar impact to when the brand was launched in 1997 with the original Smart City Coupe.
At last year’s Munich Motor Show, Smart said that the Concept #1 revealed “a clear insight into the first production model in Smart’s new generation of all-electric vehicles” – and it demonstrates that the company is going to move away from its city-car offerings.
The #1 is a compact SUV, larger than the brand’s current offerings, at just over four metres long, and will rival small electric SUVs like the Peugeot e-2008 and the Vauxhall Mokka-e.
The concept seats four, but the production model will accommodate up to five people, with an interior using a brand new cabin architecture and fresh technology, including that large central display seen in spy shots.
Geely is leading the car’s technical development, and while Smart has not confirmed a choice of architecture, it’s all but certain to use SEA – a new all-electric platform that’ll also underpin Chinese-market models, as well as a forthcoming baby model from Geely-owned brand Volvo.
Smart has not issued technical information but the SEA platform is said to support battery sizes between 58kWh and 100kWh; the #1 is likely to offer a battery around 70kWh, giving a real-world range of more than 200 miles.
While the platform can also accommodate dual-motor set-ups producing more than 500bhp, the Smart is likely to have a single motor offering around 260bhp mounted at the rear, which will help deliver a typically tight turning circle.
The #1 is expected to be manufactured alongside electric successors to the Smart Fortwo and Forfour at a new joint-venture factory in Xi’an, China, which has a production capacity of 300,000 cars per year.
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