Special Models

2012 Detroit Auto Show Hosts the World Premiere of the smart for-us

Words John Clark | January 10, 2012
The smart “for-us” turns the automotive world upside down, challenging ideas about what today’s urban pickup might look like
Words John Clark January 10, 2012

The smart “for-us” will no doubt turn heads at this years Detroit Auto Show,(North American International Auto Show at Detroit’s Cobo Center, open to the public January 14-22, 2012) challenging visitor’s ideas about what today’s urban pick-up might look like.  smart CEO Dr. Annette Winkler says, “We at smart love pickups – if they are small on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable. With the smart for-us, a petrol station is no longer needed.”  After seeing the smart for-us in person for the first time, smart has done an amazing job reinventing the pick-up and the way we look at pick-ups.

For the first time, the smart for-us translates the practical load layout of a pickup to the reality of 21st century urban traffic. With its small outside dimensions, it could almost go unnoticed in the bed of a typical American pickup. Under the body, it’s anything but ordinary: the for-us is agile and lively to drive, with state-of-the-art all-electric power from a 55- kilowatt magneto-electric motor.

The smart for-us has plenty of room for two people and behind them two slits in the cargo bed for the front wheels of two smart ebikes. Electric bikes are range-extending in two respects; The convenient docking station in the cargo bed ensures that the ebike batteries are always charged, and from a trip into town to a nature preserve outing, the smart ebikes enable smart for-us passengers to reach destinations that are out of bounds for cars – for example, park trails and restricted zones in cities.

a sassy, powerful design

Even a first glance at the design study reveals a new capability, yet the for-us remains true to the smart brand – surprising, sassy and capable. With its high-contrast tridion safety cell, the for-us is the epitome of smart. At the same time, the for-us pickup makes a powerful design statement, playing on the macho image of conventional mega-pickups. It greets viewers with a friendly, confident face and with a convex, sensuous body shape. The bold look, complete with a smart emblem on the grille and an underride guard that finishes off the front end, is complemented by body panels which are high-gloss metallic white, while the tridion safety cell has a contrasting textured grey finish.

ready to reach mountain bike terrain

The for-us sits about two inches higher than a production smart fortwo, suggesting it’s ready for off-road driving, for example, to reach mountain bike terrain. At the same time, its extremely short front and rear overhangs make it relatively small overall. When its power tailgate opens, the cargo floor retracts 11 inches, making the three-foot cargo area easy to access.

Its wheelbase is 97.7 inches, about two feet longer than the well-known fortwo. Overall, the for-us is 139.6 inches in length, nearly three feet longer than the fortwo, and to emphasize its sturdy look, the track is two inches wider. The smart for-us rolls on Michelin 235 / 55 R18 off-road tires mounted on three-spoke wheels with eye-catching fold-out wing nuts that serve to loosen the wheel nuts.

Its parallelogram front and rear lights are striking, with outer rings that serve as turn signals and a row of rod-shaped LEDS for daytime running lights. The arrow-shaped lights are reminiscent of drops streaming across an airplane window as it takes off. The modular tail lights can even be opened, revealing storage space for the charging cable or water bottles.

an interior that’s stylish, functional and uncomplicated

Inside, the cockpit design boasts aerodynamic design for exceptional interior ventilation, with taut surfaces in mother-of-pearl white contrasting with brushed aluminum working parts. Stylish yet uncomplicated, the two seats in the concept car are perfectly smart – highly functional and easy to customize. Open in the middle, the seat shells are covered with an easily removable yellow fabric, giving them a hammock-like seating feel. The soft yellow seat covers include a deep embossed silver hexagon pattern that emphasizes the car’s dynamic look. Instead of a conventional rear-view mirror, an integrated video camera displays the area behind the car on a smart phone that’s mounted on a special bracket above the dash.

zero-emission driving fun

The electric drive of the smart for-us is based on the new fortwo electric drive model, which will launch in the fall of 2012. Thanks to its 55-kilowatt magneto-electric motor, the smart for-us is nimble and lively to drive.

With 96 pound-feet of torque, the for-us boasts powerful, responsive acceleration and a top speed well over 80 mph. Its state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 17.6 kilowatt-hours of electric power. The battery can be recharged from 20 to 80 percent in only 3½ hours, and a full charge takes no more than eight hours.

also the debut of the smart ebike

The world premiere of the smart for-us concept pickup also marks the debut of the smart ebikes displayed on its cargo bed. As expected, the ebikes are unconventional in design, with high-technology, high-performance parts such as Magura MT4 disc brakes and a USB connector for infotainment devices.

Strictly speaking, the smart ebike is a hybrid – as soon as the rider begins to pedal, a Bionx rear-wheel hub motor begins to help out. The 250-watt brushless, maintenance-free motor can provide a choice of four power levels, and its battery can last for more than 60 miles. Pedal power is transmitted to the rear wheel by a quiet, durable belt drive, while a threespeed gear hub provides simple gear changes.