Daimler’s city car division, Smart, is one of the last manufacturers you would expect to develop a ute, but here it is: the Smart For-us.
Teased in these official sketches, Smart describes the For-us as a “tongue-in-cheek … urban crossover” for “the young and young at heart”.
The concept will be unveiled at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Smart claims the For-us brings the practical loading ability of a pick-up to 21st century urban traffic unlike any vehicle before it.
Powered by a 55kW/130Nm electric motor and a lithium-ion battery, Smart says the zero-emission For-us is agile and lively to drive, with “powerful, lag-free acceleration” and a top speed in excess of 120km/h.
Integrated into the 900mm-long rear cargo area are docking stations for two Smart E-bikes. The electric bicycles are always charged and ready to go when the driver wants to leave the compact ute behind to slip through the city traffic or explore isolated trails.
The styling, which previews the design language for future Smart vehicles like the next-generation Fortwo and Forfour, combines a more assertive front end with a larger badge and “sensuous” three-dimensional body surfaces, as well as chunky elements inspired by full-size pick-ups.
The exterior incorporates mother-of-pearl white panels and brushed aluminium, while the interior has an emphasis on aerodynamics and high-tech functionality. In place of a conventional rear-view mirror, a video camera links to the driver’s smartphone to digitally project the view behind.
The Smart For-us is clearly a long way from production, although Smart CEO Dr Annette Winkler says the company is interested in the pick-up body style. “We at Smart love pick-ups – if they are small, on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable,” she says.