Smart has had a go at reinventing their most popular ForTwo model a couple of times in recent years. We’ve had the slightly ruggedized Smart Crosstown concept from 2005, and earlier this year the company revealed the stylish Smart ForSpeed concept. The Forvision concept, which will be make its first public appearance at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, lies somewhere between the two.
The role of the Smart Forvision concept is twofold. Firstly it is a glimpse of what the next generation ForTwo will look like – note the much more contemporary body contours, and styling details. Secondly, the Forvision is being used as a test bed for Smart’s latest electric drivetrain.
In terms of styling there’s some winning ideas. The front facia is interesting and a good balance of cute vs sporty, and the overall shape of the vehicle with its trademark ‘C’ shaped architecture is retained to create a strong connection with the previous ForTwo. But there are also some significant fails. The angular, multifaceted door panels don’t fit with the rest of the car’s gently curving lines – in fact the jagged contours of the door panels make it look like it’s taken a light t-boneing. Whether Smart will have the guts to bring such an adventurous and polarising styling theme to the production car remains to be seen.
When developing the Forvision, Smart teamed up with the ubiquitous chemical company BASF to create some forward thinking lightweight elements. The wheels for example are made from a tough but lightweight plastic. This solution cuts around 12 kgs (26 lbs) from the vehicles unsprung weight. In addition, the aforementioned door panels are formed from carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy resin – as is the passenger compartment. This results in a weight saving of around 50 percent when compared to a typical steel construction, or 30 percent lighter than aluminium.
On the inside the Forvision features ‘e-textile’ coverings which replace the conventional heating system. This thin fabric has heat-conductive coatings interwoven into the material which warms the occupants directly. Highly efficient insulating foam within the body panels helps keep the interior warm in winter and cool in summer.
Powering the Smart Forvision concept is an electric drivetrain. The roof features a lattice work of solar panels which help recharge the batteries.