Skip to main content

The Smart EV concept is not the Smart car you thought you knew

smart EV concept
(Image credit: Mercedes/Geely)

Remember the Smart car? Well those tiny little city-roaming vehicles could be set for a comeback. Except they probably won’t be tiny, and they’ll be ditching the gas tank for a battery.

The brand new Smart EV-concept has just been unveiled at the IAA Mobility show in Munich, showing us what sort of car parent-company Mercedes has planned. And it looks nothing like the Smart car you remember.

This new design looks more akin to the Mini Countryman than the Smart cars of old. That means it comes with four seats, aerodynamic styling, a glass roof, and (most importantly) a lot of interior space.

smart ev concept

(Image credit: Mercedes/Geely)

But that large size has an extra hidden advantage: improved range potential. While it seems counterproductive to increase the size (and weight) of a car to increase range, a larger car has space for a bigger battery. The bigger the battery, generally speaking, the further your EV can travel before you have to think about recharging.

smart ev concept

(Image credit: Mercedes/Geely)

Inside the new Smart concept are all the conveniences you’d expect from a modern EV. That includes a 12.8-inch touchscreen panel, a minimalistic design, and gold accents that make this car look like it was designed to show off in a high-end department store.

Other notable features include a rear scissor door for easier entry, even if they can be impractical out in the real world. There are also 21-inch wheels, LED light bars at the front and rear of the car, and a design that almost screams “look at me, I’m an EV." So pretty outlandish, which is one of the things I hope gets scrapped before this car goes into production.

smart ev concept

(Image credit: Mercedes/Geely)

And this car is set to go into production, thanks to a partnership between Mercedes’ parent company Daimler and Geely — owner of brands like Volvo, Polestar and Lotus. The car will be built on Geely’s Sustainable Architecture, the same as its own brands, and will support the usual features like fast charging and over-the-air updates.

Multiple versions are also on the cards, including a long range model, though other specifics haven’t been revealed. The best part? The Smart EV is set to go on sale in China next year, with plans to expand the launch to Europe as well. No word on a U.S. release right now, especially since Smart abandoned the American market in 2019, but we can keep our fingers crossed.

Just remember that the final production model is probably going to look quite different. How different? We couldn’t possibly say. So it’ll be interesting to see what’s actually on the cards when it goes into production next year.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.