Smart's Vision EQ Fortwo predicts an autonomous, electric future
A customized experience in autonomous ride sharing may be on the way.
Jon WongFormer editor for CNET Cars
Jon Wong was a reviews editor for CNET Cars. He test drove and wrote about new cars and oversaw coverage of automotive accessories and garage gear. In his spare time, he enjoys track days, caring for his fleet of old Japanese cars and searching for the next one to add to his garage.
The Smart concept reflects parent company Daimler's new "CASE" strategy, which stands for "connected, autonomous, shared and electric," and looks ahead to the potential future of urban mobility in the year 2030 and beyond.
Designed initially with the idea of being a glass ball on wheels for maximum interior space, the Vision EQ Fortwo wears a new front design language with a more mature appearance compared to the current production car. On the concept, the front grille area is occupied by a black panel display that can greet ride-share customers when arriving for pick-up. Riders call for the Vision EQ Fortwo using an app and can choose to accept or reject other potential people to share the car with.
The front display and glass door panels can also be customized to show a rider's preferred images, and when no passengers are on board can show news, weather and time for pedestrians.
Inside the two-passenger cabin, the Level 5 autonomous (i.e. completely self-driving) car doesn't have pedals or steering wheel to open up additional space. A large screen dominates the interior and can show concerts, sports highlights and other information based on the occupant's preference.
The bench seat features a retractable armrest, while there's more storage to the front of the seats, at the bottom of the A-pillars and on the center floor.
Smart Vision EQ Fortwo could be the future of urban mobility
Being a Smart, the concept is just 8.8 feet long, making it ideal to navigate crowded city streets. Fold-up doors make getting in and out in tight urban areas even easier.
The electric drivetrain uses a 20-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged inductively without a cable and feed electricity into the grid when not in use.
There's no telling if or when we'll be seeing some of the features in the Smart Vision EQ Fortwo make their way into production cars, but Daimler is for sure betting big on electric vehicles. By 2022, the company says that more than 10 electric cars will be going into production.