Autonomous Smart EV concept with carsharing in mind headed for Frankfurt

Struggling small car brand betting big on shared urban mobility.

Smart captured the world's imagination with its diminutive ForTwo lineup, but it's never really found its feet as a profitable arm of Daimler's automotive empire. The promise of self-driving, shared urban mobility could yet be its savior. 

To that end, Smart has announced plans to show a pure-electric concept car at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, and the vehicle is expected to incorporate full autonomy and built-in carsharing capabilities. Judging by the teaser image shown below, the concept car will also communicate its intentions to pedestrians and other motorists with a dynamic billboard-like display screen in its nose.

Daimler says the Smart concept will be the company's first vehicle to reflect its new "CASE" corporate strategy: "Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric." And as you may recall, Smart made headlines in February by announcing plans to end sales of all gas-powered models in the US -- 2018 model-year ForTwos will be electric only.

Smart's next concept will communicate with pedestrians and motorists using a billboard-like display.


No word yet on what's under the hood of the unnamed show car, but it could very well be a version of what powers today's production ForTwo Electric Drive. The latter's pure-electric powertrain offers 80 horsepower, 118-pound feet of torque, and a 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery good for 124 miles of range in the city. 

We'll know more September 12, when the Smart concept bows alongside new vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, which are set to include a new EQ electric concept and Mercedes-AMG's long-awaited Project One hypercar.