Remember Smart, the unique German brand that made cutesy tiny cars that could fit into a parallel parking spot, horizontally? Well, the Smart that we know might not exist any more in the very near future, as the Mercedes-Benz and Geely is reportedly planning to unveil a new Smart electric SUV this year.
According to a report by Autocar, the model – codenamed HX11 – will be a five-door electric SUV model jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and Geely (who now owns half of Smart), and could be unveiled in concept form as soon as at the Munich motor show in September this year.
While details are obviously scarce right now, Smart’s vice president of global sales Daniel Lescow, has not been shy to talk about the latest developments within his company. Lescow wrote on his LinkedIn page: “It may come as a surprise to some: Smart will enter the market with a fully electric SUV – spacious yet compact. This will be the first vehicle of the joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Geely, due out in 2022, built in China.”
Lescow also says in his post that the upcoming Smart eSUV will be built on Geely’s new SEA electric car architecture, which stands for Sustainable Experience Architecture.
Despite being built in Geely’s Xi’an plant, the model will not be a China-exclusive model, with export plans to Europe already confirmed. No word on other Asian markets as of now, but Lescow – speaking to German publication Automobilwoche – did say that the new model will not be available in the United States.
“The potential is vast, not only in Europe but also in China. SUVs are becoming the most popular of all passenger vehicles in China. But don’t worry, our new SUV won’t just be for China – we’ll be bringing it to European markets,” Lescow writes in his post.
According to the LinkedIn post, Mercedes-Benz will be responsible for the design of the new Smart electric SUV model, while Geely will be the main contributor in terms of development and production of the vehicle.
Reports from China suggest that the still-unnamed Smart SUV model will be equipped with a rear-mounted electric motor, generating a maximum power of 272 hp, alongside a lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of less than 70 kWh and a range of more than 500 km, based on the Chinese NEDC test cycle.
Autocar further reports that it will be comparable in size to the Mini Countryman, which means it will be Smart’s largest model to date, at around four metres in length.