Concept Design from smart & Roger Penske

Earlier this month, Roger Penske announced that his company would be relinquishing the smart brand in the U.S. back to its owner, Mercedes-Benz, with the transition to be complete by June 30.

Earlier this month, Roger Penske announced that his company would be relinquishing the smart brand in the U.S. back to its owner, Mercedes-Benz, with the transition to be complete by June 30. Which makes us wonder whether he might have hung onto the brand if he’d waited to see the smart concept car that is to be shown next week at the Geneva Motor Show, the forspeed.

The car is a two-seater that’s powered by a 30-kW electric motor that is powered by a 16.5-kWh lithium-ion battery.

s

Its name notwithstanding, the forspeed accelerates from 0 to 37 mph in 5.5 seconds. By way of comparison, another two-seater, the Corvette Z06, goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds—in first gear. What is somewhat quick is the recharge time: 0 to 80% in 45 minutes on a 220-v outlet. The car has a range of 84 miles.

2

Gratuitous Corvette shot.

Like the Corvette, the forspeed has a glass-fiber reinforced plastic body. Unlike the Corvette, it doesn’t have a roof, nor does it have side windows. As a result of the topless nature, it doesn’t have outside door handles, either: One reaches inside the vehicle to release the door. There isn’t a conventional windshield, either, just a wind deflector that’s fitted with photovoltaic cells to help recharge the battery.

s

If it rains there is a tonneau cover that can be put in place, fastened to the body with straps. It is divided so that the driver’s portion can be unzipped, and she can drive while getting wet. smart interior designers took this potential into account and have fitted water drainage channels in the seats and the vehicle floor and are using a waterproof coating on the surfaces of interior gear.

s

In describing the forspeed, Prof. Dr. h.c. Gorden Wagener, head of smart Design, stated, “The cult brand smart has always taken an unconventional approach with bold design. The forspeed now carries purist sportiness to extremes and in terms of form it is also a pioneer for a new paradigm of mobility.”

s

We’re guessing Penske would have still given up the deal.