The Chinese influence in global auto market continues to expand at a rapid pace. Not only in shape of Chinese own brands, but the popular global brands which are now under the influence of Chinese automakers. Volvo, MG and Lotus being the prime examples where Chinese were not just able to successfully revive the brands but injected a new life in them.
The latest addition to the list is Smart, the small car brand once fully owned by Daimler but is now jointly owned by Geely and Daimler. Under the partnership, the new generation of pure electric Smart vehicles will be designed by Mercedes-Benz global design team while Geely’s global R&D network will be responsible for the engineering and development of the new models.
The company has now officially unveiled its first car, which isn’t a two-seater micro car like most previous Smart models, but an electric SUV called #1 “hashtag one”. The #1 EV sits on Geely’s SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) electric-vehicle platform which already underpins the Zeekr 001 and the Lotus Eletre, and will be used in many other upcoming cars of Geely, Polestar, Volvo, and Lynk & Co. The Smart #1 is manufactured in Geely’s brand new factory in Xi’an, China.
The #1 measures 4,270 mm long, 1,822 mm wide and 1,636 mm tall with a 2,750 mm wheelbase. The car will be initially offered in rear-wheel-drive form only, producing 200 kW (272 hp) of power and 343 Nm of torque from its single motor which will help achieve a top speed of 180 km/h. An all-wheel-drive variant will be offered later.
There is a 66 kWh lithium-ion battery under the floor that provides a range of up to 440 km on the WLTP cycle. The #1 accepts up to 22 kW of AC charging power, which can fill the battery from 10% to 80% in under 3 hours. Alternatively, a DC fast charger can be used with an output of up to 150 kW, which will top up the battery in less than 30 minutes.
The exterior features pebble-smooth styling which incorporates frame-less windows, full-width LED headlights and connected taillights, a trapezoidal front air intake with contrasting surrounding trim, flush door handles and a “floating roof” with an inset smart badge. There is an active grille shutter and flat-faced 19-inch wheels enabling the #1 to deliver a drag coefficient as low as 0.29cd.
Inside, the #1 maintains minimalist styling with a pill-shaped dashboard, a flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel, floating center console with a large 12.8-inch touchscreen, 9.2-inch digital instrument readout as well as a 10-inch head-up display. A panoramic glass roof, a 13-speaker Beats sound system, parking assist and a sliding rear bench are available. The boot measures just 273 liters but can be expanded to 411 liters, while the tiny front boot has 15 liters capacity. The #1 is a genuine 5-seater unlike previous Smart models that had 4 seats only.
The Smart #1
In terms of safety, the Smart #1 is offered with 7 airbags and a host of driver assistance features, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane centering assist, lane change assist, lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring.
The #1 will initially be offered in a Launch Edition, limited to 1,000 units only. It gets a unique chequered motif on the wheels, glass roof and the unique white leather upholstery, as well as the gold exterior and interior highlights.
Smart #1 Launch Edition
Smart is planning to launch more versions of the #1 down the line, aimed at specific target audiences. Next in line are more SUVs a larger one as well as an even smaller one, a sedan, and possibly a compact MPV. The Smart #1 will hit the Chinese car market in Q3, 2022. Whereas Geely will use Proton brand to market the car in Right Hand Drive markets.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com