At January’s Detroit Auto Show, Smart will debut its interpretation of a pick-up: the petite For-Us concept. Somewhat ironically, perhaps, the tiny car could easily fit in the load bay of one of its heavy-duty American brethren.
So, is the urban utility vehicle a niche too far?
Maybe, but it does offer a touch more practicality than an Aston Martin Cygnet. While the rear load bay (which measures 900mm) might not be capable of ferrying a quad bike around like its American peers, it’s capable of carrying a pair of electric bicycles – which can be charged by the built-in power supply when on the move. The 55kW, 96lb ft magneto-electric motor also propels the car itself (up to a top speed of around 75mph) and will be carried over to the Electric Drive For-Two due to launch in Spring 2012.
One of the concept’s unique features is an electrically powered cargo tray, which slides rearwards by 280mm to aid loading.
Smart is keen to point out that its compact pick-up gives new meaning to the idea of ‘park-and-ride’: the occupants can continue their electrified journey by leaving the car behind and using the e-bikes to venture through environments usually inaccessible on four wheels, such as traffic-calmed city streets or park trails.
However, this could just turn out to be a fantasy to those who can see the appeal; the For-Us is only a concept at present, with Smart yet to commit to producing an urban utility vehicle in the near future. That said, some of the concept’s design cues are likely to be carried over to imminent road-going Smarts, including the For-Four due to be revealed sometime next year. The four-seat Smart is also expected to share similar dimensions: the concept is a substantial 852mm longer than the existing For-Two.
Text: Joe Breeze