It is the first Europe-bound EV to use Geely’s new SEA architecture – as first deployed on the Chinese-market Zeekr 001 shooting brake and soon to provide the basis for the Volvo EX30.
The German and Chinese companies sharing management of the Smart brand have already outlined their respective responsibilities: Geely will supply the fundamental architectures and Mercedes will take care of design.
Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener has called the new design language Sensual Product, adding that it’s “grown-up, cool and embodies beauty with smart solutions”.
Certainly, the #1’s efficiency and range figures stack up agreeably against its competitors. In the pricier models, power is stored in a 62kWh nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) battery that’s good for a maximum range of 273 miles, while 150kW rapid-charging capacity means a 10-80% top-up can be completed in less than half an hour.
Smart’s focus on maximising that range is evident in a design that clearly majors on aerodynamic efficiency. Indeed, a drag coefficient of 0.29Cd – achieved with the help of concealed door handles, an active grille shutter and a slippery, curved silhouette – puts it almost on a par with the Volkswagen ID 4.
The #1 also bears distinctive design cues expected to become hallmarks of the reinvented Smart range, namely its charismatic wrap-around front light bar, two-tone paint scheme, ‘flying’ roof and squat, compact proportions.