Smart’s city vi­sion

Self-driv­ing elec­tric car mooted

Auto Car (UK) - - THIS WEEK - GREG KABLE

The elec­tric Smart Vi­sion EQ Fortwo show­cases the so­lu­tions and technology be­ing con­sid­ered for the brand’s fu­ture city cars, ac­cord­ing to Smart boss An­nette Win­kler. Such cars are des­tined to form a key role in the Car2go car-shar­ing pro­gramme of par­ent com­pany Mercedes-benz by 2030.

The self-driv­ing two seater, which will make its de­but at Frankfurt mo­tor show later this month, is a “vi­sion of fu­ture ur­ban mo­bil­ity — fully au­ton­o­mous, with max­i­mum com­mu­ni­ca­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties and elec­tric,” said Win­kler.

The cen­tre­piece of the new Smart con­cept car is an ad­vanced Level 5 au­ton­o­mous driv­ing sys­tem. Win­kler said: “In the fu­ture, car-shar­ing users will not have to look for the next avail­able car. [The car] will find them and col­lect pas­sen­gers di­rectly from their cho­sen lo­ca­tion.”

Smart re­gards the de­vel­op­ment of its Car2go car-shar­ing scheme through the adop­tion of au­ton­o­mous driv­ing technology as a key com­po­nent in its growth plans. Cur­rently, a Smart model is hired ev­ery 1.4sec in cities around the world through a base of more than 2.6 mil­lion cus­tomers. It cites in­ter­nal stud­ies that pre­dict the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing car­shar­ing schemes world­wide will in­crease five­fold by 2025 to more than 36.7 mil­lion.

Hint­ing at plans by Smart to make its line-up ex­clu­sively elec­tric un­der Mercedes’ EQ sub-brand — a move ex­pected to be an­nounced at next year’s Geneva show — the Vi­sion EQ Fortwo has a rear-mounted mo­tor and 30kwh lithium ion bat­tery for a range of “well over 300km” (186 miles).

When not in use, Smart en­vis­ages the car will drive it­self to a charg­ing sta­tion, where its bat­tery can be charged in­duc­tively.

The Vi­sion EQ con­cept features a one-and-a-half-box ex­te­rior de­sign that is ex­pected to in­flu­ence the styling of the next gen­er­a­tion of Smarts.

At 2699mm long, 1720mm wide and 1535mm tall, the con­cept car is the same length but 50mm wider and 25mm lower than to­day’s Fortwo.

The LED tail-lights can be used con­ven­tion­ally or to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on traf­fic jams or pos­si­ble time de­lays for fol­low­ing traf­fic.

Inside, the Vi­sion EQ Fortwo doesn’t have a steer­ing wheel, ped­als or tra­di­tional con­trols. Func­tions are con­trolled via smart­phone or voice con­trol.

In­for­ma­tion is dis­played on a 24in screen and the doors. The doors will show news, lo­cal events and weather, turn­ing them into mo­bile bill­boards.

It has no steer­ing wheel or ped­als; touch­screen is 24in

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