Smart For-Us brings truckness to the urban jungle

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The Smart team looked to none other than actor/comedian/SNL-alum Jon Lovitz to introduce its pickup truck concept. We're not sure what is stranger: the other J-Lo at an auto show press conference or a Smart with usable bed space.

The Smart For-Us concept features a 75-horsepower electric motor that twists up 98 pound-feet of torque. The battery is a 17.6 kW/h lithium ion battery pack, which is more juice than a Chevrolet Volt. Smart promises zero to 60 times in the range of five seconds and an 80 mph top speed, which isn't bad for a green machine with a bed. Smart claims that the battery pack can go from 20 percent charged to 80 percent in 3.5 hours, while a full juicing takes place in eight hours.

The For-Us boasts a smallish but undoubtedly handy 11.6 cubic feet of space. Smart no doubt isn't interested in going toe-to-toe with the likes of the F-150 and the Silverado, but it's still difficult to see such a concept model ever making its way to production.

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to read over the press release, and feel free to peruse the live high resolution pics from the Detroit Auto Show floor.
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DETROIT – The joy of the open road, expansive landscapes and a love of outdoor activities made large pickups an icon of the American auto scene. Now, in an age of spiraling fuel prices, increased environmental consciousness and the reality of congested cities where parking is a premium, smart reinvents the pick-up in a surprising new package. The smart brand is holding the global unveiling of the smart for-us concept pickup during media days at the North
American International Auto Show in Detroit's Cobo Center.

smart CEO Dr. Annette Winkler says, "We at smart love pickups – if they are small on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable. With the smart for-us, a petrol station is no longer needed." With a wink and a smile, the smart "for-us" turns the automotive world upsidedown once again, challenging ideas about what today's urban pickup might look like.

For the first time, the smart for-us translates the practical load layout of a pickup to the reality of 21st century urban traffic. With its small outside dimensions, it could almost go unnoticed in the bed of a typical American pickup. Under the body, it's anything but ordinary: the for-us is agile and lively to drive, with state-of-the-art all-electric power from a 55-kilowatt magneto-
electric motor.

The smart for-us has plenty of room for two people and behind them two slits in the cargo bed for the front wheels of two smart ebikes. Electric bikes are range-extending in two respects; The convenient docking station in the cargo bed ensures that the ebike batteries are always charged, and from a trip into town to a nature preserve outing, the smart ebikes enable smart for-us passengers to reach destinations that are out of bounds for cars – for example, park trails and restricted zones in cities.

a sassy, powerful design
Even a first glance at the design study reveals a new capability, yet the for-us remains true to the smart brand – surprising, sassy and capable. With its high contrast tridion safety cell, the for-us is the epitome of smart. At the same time, the for-us pickup makes a powerful design statement, playing on the macho image of conventional mega-pickups. It greets viewers with a friendly, confident face and with a convex, sensuous body shape. The bold look, complete with a smart emblem on the grille and an underride guard that finishes off the front end, is complemented by body panels which are high-gloss metallic white, while the tridion safety cell has a contrasting textured grey finish.

ready to reach mountain bike terrain

The for-us sits about two inches higher than a production smart fortwo, suggesting it's ready for off-road driving, for example, to reach mountain bike terrain. At the same time, its extremely short front and rear overhangs make it relatively small overall. When its power tailgate opens, the cargo floor retracts 11 inches, making the three-foot cargo area easy to access. Its wheelbase is 97.7 inches, about two feet longer than the well-known fortwo. Overall, the for-us is 139.6 inches in length, nearly three feet longer than the fortwo, and to emphasize its sturdy look, the track is two inches wider. The smart for-us rolls on Michelin 235 / 55 R18 off-road tires mounted on threespoke wheels with eye-catching fold-out wing nuts that serve to loosen the wheel nuts.

Its parallelogram front and rear lights are striking, with outer rings that serve as turn signals and a row of rod-shaped LEDS for daytime running lights. The arrow-shaped lights are reminiscent of drops streaming across an airplanewindow as it takes off. The modular tail lights can even be opened, revealing storage space for the charging cable or water bottles.

Inside, the cockpit design boasts aerodynamic design for exceptional interior ventilation, with taut surfaces in mother-of-pearl white contrasting with brushed aluminum working parts. Stylish yet uncomplicated, the two seats in the concept car are perfectly smart – highly functional and easy to customize. Open in the middle, the seat shells are covered with an easily removable yellow fabric, giving them a hammock-like seating feel. The soft yellow seat covers include a deep embossed silver hexagon pattern that emphasizes the car's dynamic look. Instead of a conventional rear-view mirror, an integrated video camera displays
the area behind the car on a smart phone that's mounted on a special bracket above the dash.

The electric drive of the smart for-us is based on the new fortwo electric drive model, which will launch in the fall of 2012. Thanks to its 55-kilowatt magnetoelectric motor, the smart for-us is nimble and lively to drive. With 96 pound-feet of torque, the for-us boasts powerful, responsive acceleration and a top speed well over 80 mph. Its state-of-the-art lithium-ion
battery has a capacity of 17.6 kilowatt-hours of electric power. The battery can be recharged from 20 to 80 percent in only 3½ hours, and a full charge takes no more than eight hours.

Conceived as the ultimate city car that's also a blast to drive, the smart fortwo is a trendsetter that's already become an automotive icon. There's even a smart on permanent display in New York City's Museum of Modern Art. Redefining what it means to be a car, and "right-sized" for the times, the smart two-seater is also one of the greenest vehicles on the road, with enthusiastic owners who talk about the car's gotta-have-it qualities and its major fun factor.

the smallest footprint on the road

While the smart fortwo has the smallest footprint of any car in the world, it also boasts surprising head and legroom. Looking over the expansive dash and windshield, the fortwo feels like a medium-sized sedan, but it's only 8.8 feet long. At the same time, state-of-the-art engineering provides exceptional safety that complements its small-on-the-outside-big-on-the-inside practicality.

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