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Smart to debut battery bakkie

2011-12-08 12:20

ZERO EMISSIONS RIDE: Smart hopes to shake up the traditional bakkie market with the debut of its ForUS model in 2012. It claims to be a pratical electric ride for urban dwellers... though you could just buy a bakkie.

STUTTGART, Germany - Smart is sure to upset the automotive world with its tongue-in-cheek take on a small pick-up. The new ForUs is a zero-emissions, roofless pick-up headed for the 2012 Detroit motor show and, typical of the German automaker, the new model looks decidedly quirky.

Based on the Smart ForTwo, the ForUs is a miniaturised carry-all for urban livilng and at 3.5m long, 1.5m wide and 1.70m tall it’s pretty small, especially it's "load bay" at less than a metre long.

Its electric motor, based on that of the ForTwo, produces 55kW/130Nm, good for a top speed of 120km/h. Nobody is saying for how long...

Whatever, Smart CEO Annette Winkler says: "We at Smart love pick-ups – provided they are small on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable. With the Smart ForUs, a fuel station is no longer required.”

Thanks to a docking station on its load bed their batteries are always charged and Smart ForUs drivers can also reach destinations out of bounds for cars – for example, traffic-calmed city zones and isolated park trails.

Smart For-US

SMART PICK-UP: Smart will attach a pair of rechargeable e-bikes to the ForUs when it hits showrooms in 2012.

The design of the ForUs appears to have more in common with a traditional buggy than a bakkie with its robust flat shape and short overhangs. In place of a rear-view mirror is a smartphone on top of the instrument panel support. This allows the driver to see what's happening behind him through a video camera.

If you're in the market for a battery ride that's a little more practical than a Smart ForTwo and you want to annoy "real" bakkie owners, the Smart ForUs could be ForYou.

The Smart ForUs will celebrate its world premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2012.


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