Smart EQ ForFour production ends, electric SUV next –

It’s the end of the road for the Smart EQ ForFour. Production of the Smart with the extra doors has ended at Renault’s Novo Mesto plant in Slovenia last month, and the electric hatchback is no longer on sale in markets including the UK. The Renault Twingo Z.E, a sister car with much of the same hardware, remains on sale in most European markets, Autocar says.

The EQ ForFour has been on the market since 2017 and was given a facelift as recently as 2019. Powered by an 80 hp electric motor and small 17.6 kWh battery, its 70 miles (112 km) of range is not very competitive in today’s EV market.

The ForFour’s departure leaves the EQ ForTwo – available in hardtop and convertible form – as the only Smart model on sale in the UK.

However, later this year, the Smart range will soon be boosted by the production version of the Smart Concept #1, which is being developed by Geely. In case you forgot, the Chinese car group is now part-owner of Smart, having got into a 50:50 JV with Mercedes-Benz AG (then Daimler AG) in March 2019 to develop the Smart brand.

In this new era for Smart, Geely will lead the engineering of the electric cars, while Mercedes will be responsible for design and styling. The production Concept #1 SUV will be the first model of the Geely era and the brand’s first bespoke full electric car – no more internal combustion engines.

A 2019 Munich show debutant in September, the Concept #1 is described as a “clear insight into the first production model in Smart’s new generation of all-electric vehicles” and patent images from a month later show an SUV that stays very true to the concept.

The Concept #1 transfers “very compact exterior dimensions” and “traditional Smart design” into “a new vehicle concept with a significantly higher premium and high-tech claim,” the company says. It measures 4,290 mm long and 1,910 mm wide, with a 2,750 mm wheelbase – to give you a picture, that’s longer than a Perodua Ativa but shorter than every other B-SUV in our market; however, that wheelbase is 90 mm longer than a CR-V’s.

Smart says that its new model generation has a powerful central computer that controls four main domains: infotainment, driver assistance systems, electromobility-specific functions and the electric/electronic (E/E) vehicle architecture. Thanks to dynamic OTA (over-the-air) software updates, more than 75% of all ECUs can be updated remotely on an ongoing basis, Smart says.

The mission of Mercedes-Benz and Geely – which founder has a substantial stake in the German company by the way – is to develop Smart into a leading global provider of connected, battery-electric premium vehicles for demanding customer groups, in their own words.

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