Smart Forvision Concept revealed

1 Sep, 2011 11:04am Luke Madden

Frankfurt show car previews next-generation Fortwo and features advanced lightweight materials

The Smart Fortwo has been around for 13 years now and fresher rivals are beginning to outshine the clever city car. But Smart is keen to get back to the top of the micro car pile, and this latest concept, unveiled at Frankfurt – called the ForVision – is how they intend to do it.

Most noticeably there’s a new design language, inspired by the ForSpeed concept car. It includes larger, more rounded headlights, carved door panels and honeycomb shapes throughout.

But the really clever technology lies underneath the skin. Smart has concentrated on improving efficiency and reducing weight in this electric concept thanks to a tie-up with chemical company BASF.  

A new range of materials developed by the company have been used, including wheel rims made entirely from plastic – saving 3kgs per wheel – and a new carbon fibre Tridion safety cell. Smart claims that if they made this car out of traditional materials it would be 150kgs heavier.

Additionally, a range of insulating foams and heat reflective paints have been specially developed to keep the cabin warm in winter and cool in summer. A comparison between a traditional paint and the newly developed coat revealed a temperature difference of 20 degrees.  There’s also a set of transparent solar panels in the roof which can power ventilation fans to cool the car.

All this tech means that with the Fortwo ED’s electric running gear underneath, the Forvision is able to travel 20 per cent further on a charge. The ED boasts a range of 90 miles and sources see this figure as more like 105 miles in the concept.

Although it’s still very much a concept, Smart admitted that the styling would certainly be a part of the future Fortwo and that some of the technology, including the heat reflective paint, transparent solar panels and plastic wheels were only a couple of years away from production.

And with the next Fortwo due in another three to four years expect a good proportion of the Forvision’s technology and design to feature.

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Very cuddly design that should appeal to a metrosexual market, lets hope the slow-witted gearbox is thrown out on the new model.

I'm still thinking about buying the present ForTwo and would just love to commit. The fact that Smart have kept what is, fundamentally, the same design for 13 years proves IMO that it's an excellent car. OK, it's not for everyone, but how often are cars driven round with a lot of empty, unused, space. I fancy the CDI model which, despite the optimistic mpg figures, still represents a very economical car. I could even live with the gearbox!

I am still waiting for the concept of using solar panels to be extended to self charging the batteries

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