Frankfurt Motor Show: Smart Electric Drive and Forvision

The third generation Smart electric drive has been officially revealed at the Frankfurt show, alongside some fetching silver-clad dancers. The company has shown the Forvision concept in the plastic for the first time, too.

We already know plenty about the Forvision because Smart smartly had the, erm, fore-vision to release details before the hubbub of the show itself, thus preventing it being lost entirely beneath the shade of the Ferrari 458 Spider's retractable hardtop, or some other suitably ludicrous motor show circus.
The electric drive, unveiled for the first time in Frankfurt, will go on sale spring 2012 with an improved drivetrain boasting greater range and a higher top speed: now 86 miles and 74mph respectively. It's quicker to, hitting 37mph in five seconds.

The Forvision has a familiar outline, although that's probably so that we can concentrate more on the material use than flashy design: this thing is clever.

Its aim is to reduce energy consumption in as many ways as possible, even down to the development of reflective paint that keeps the cabin cool, thus reducing the need for battery-leeching air conditioning.

The wheels are moulded from plastic to save weight, and the seats only heat that part of a person's back scientifically proven to be most receptive to it – just above the backside, apparently.

The roof is made up of solar cells that have been developed from clear material, letting light into the cabin, and the body panels are full of heat insulating foam.

Much of the innovation in the Smart Forvision, which was co-developed with German chemicals corporation BASF, will hit the third-generation Smart Fortwo in 2014.
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