Smart's compact zero-emission pick-up concept called Smart For-us has been seen for the first time at its official debut at the Detroit motor show today. The concept hints at the next For-four and is a tongue-in-cheek attempt to make the pick-up-loving American market take a wider interest in the compact car brand.
The Smart For-us – a name chosen to reflect the US's fondness for pick-ups - the electric powered two seater has been conceived as part of a plan to further extend the scope of the future Smart line-up through the addition of new models. Smart officials are quick to point out that no firm decisions have been made on a production future for the new urban based utility vehicle.
Various styling elements along with the basic dimensions and newly developed platform of the For-us are said to mirror those of the upcoming second-generation For-four, which is being developed in partnership with Renault.
Combining styling cues first established on the smaller Smart For-vision concept revealed at the Frankfurt motor show back in September together with typically rugged contemporary pick-up design elements, the For-us uses an electrically powered cargo tray that motors out by 280mm at the rear to ease loading. Traditional smart elements include largely unadorned body panels and a two tone colour scheme.
Inside, there is a basic interior with seating for two and a 900mm long cargo tray with what smart describes as an integrated docking station. It will be used on the concept car bound for Detroit to provide electrical energy to two Smart E-bikes.
At 3547mm in length, 1506mm in width and 1701mm in height, the For-us is a substantial 852mm longer, the same width and, owing largely to its raised ride height, 161mm higher than the existing For-two. It also rides on a wheelbase that has been extended by 613mm over that of Smart’s signature two seat city car at 2480mm, while the tracks have pushed out by 50mm both front and rear at 1335mm and 1435mm respectively.
Power for the new Smart concept comes from the same plug-in electric system used on the Smart For-two Electric Drive on sale in Europe. It uses a brushless electric motor mounted at the rear producing 74bhp and 96lb ft of torque together with a 17.7kW/h lithium ion battery that is charged via standard mains electricity and on the run via energy recuperated during periods of trailing throttle and braking.
Renault will use the same platform as that planned for the For-four to underpin its third-generation Twingo. Secrecy surrounds where the platform will originate, although sources close to Mercedes-Benz suggest it will be a development of the so-called A-platform currently found underneath the second-generation Twingo. Both cars will be produced in an existing Renault factory located in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, from 2014.