smart Automobile Co., Ltd. has officially begun its transition to an all-electric automaker with the latest preview of its first new electric vehicle following parent company Mercedes-Benz AG’s joint venture with Geely Holding. The 2023 EV crossover will be called the #1 smart, kicking off the automaker’s new model nomenclature.
Smart Automobile Co., Ltd. is a German car manufacturer founded in the 90s, known for its “cute” and compact cars, perfect for crowded urban centers. The brand operates under parent company Mercedes-Benz AG (fka Daimler AG…fka Daimler-Benz) serves nearly 50 automotive markets worldwide, although it has discontinued sales in the United States and Canada after its 2019 models. .
In 2019, smart’s parent company announced a joint venture with Geely Holding Group to produce smart badged cars in China as well. That same year, smart began a radical shift towards electrification by ditching combustion engines for electric-only powertrains.
In early 2020, Mercedes-Benz announced that under its new JV structure, the next generation of smart vehicles will be designed by “the global Mercedes-Benz Design network and developed by the global Geely engineering network”.
Since then, smart Automobile Co. has teased the first of its next generation of electric vehicles with its Concept #1, which was unveiled at the IAA Mobility show in Munich last year. In the fall, we learned that the smart EV concept was “near production” and will feature a large panoramic glass roof with a ring of light and frameless “suicide” style doors that open in directions opposites.
With its latest announcement, we have a status update on Concept #1, including its official name… the smart #1.
2023 smart #1 EV completes pre-market testing
smart Automobile offered its latest EV update in a recent press release alongside the unveiling of the bill of materials for all future models. The release describes smart’s decision to use the “#” naming system:
With the combination of the “#” symbol followed by a number, smart has defined a recognizable family name for its new generation of all-electric vehicles. Often used today to indicate the hottest topics on social media, the ‘#’ symbol conjures up trends in the digital age – fittingly so, since the unveiling of its first production car at the IAA in 1997, smart has been striving for innovation and has remained a trendsetter in the automotive industry.
According to the automaker, the smart #1 EV recently completed aerodynamic testing as well as winter testing at -40℃ (-40℉) proving grounds in northern China. The smart #1 also underwent complex snow and ice tests at the site. Daniel Lescow, Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and Service of smart Automobile Co., Ltd., spoke about the progress of the electric vehicle:
As the first product to be launched after the brand renewal, the smart #1 perfectly combines electric drive technology and premium quality. I am confident that the smart #1 will excite future customers in China and Europe, setting new trends in urban mobility and co-creating powerful brand experiences wherever it appears.
After the completion of the aforementioned tests, Mercedes-Benz AG and Geely are confident that they can launch a production version of the smart #1 EV later this year.
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