Smart’s city vision
Self-driving electric car mooted
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