Smart just unveiled its first vehicle under the joint venture between Daimler and Geely. Dubbed Smart #1 – pronounced “hashtag one” instead of number one, believe it or not – this electric vehicle (EV) is developed by Geely, and it’s coming to Malaysia under Proton Edar.
Needless to say, the prospect of the Smart #1 entering the Malaysian market in the near future (likely sometime in 2023) is exciting. This is especially the case with the current incentives given by the government to push for the adoption of EVs in Malaysia.
If you’re interested to get the electric SUV once it’s available on our shores, here’s what you need to know about the Smart #1.
Fast Performance, Good Range
Powering the Smart #1 is a single motor driving the rear wheels. It outputs 272PS and 343Nm of torque, which are very respectable figures. No 0-100kmph sprint time was given, though Smart did say the #1 has a top speed of 180kmph.
Range is one of the most important aspects of an EV, and in this regard, the Smart #1 offers between 420km to 440km of range on the WLTP cycle. Reasonably good range out of a 66kWh battery, which can be recharged from 10% to 80% in only 30 minutes via a 150kW DC fast charger. It takes 3 hours for a 22kW AC charger to provide the same charge.
Level 2 Autonomous Driving
As with most modern cars in this segment, the Smart #1 features level 2 autonomous driving. This allows the electric SUV to control both the throttle and steering under certain conditions, thanks to the adaptive cruise control with stop and go function and active lane keeping assist.
On top of that, the Smart #1 also has blind spot assist, highway and traffic jam assist, auto parking assist, along with adaptive high beam assist. All in all, a rather sophisticated advanced driver assistance systems. It also has seven airbags for added safety.
Modern, Almost Futuristic Interior
There’s no denying that the Smart #1 has a very unique interior. One of the most eye-catching elements is the 12.8-inch 1080p floating infotainment screen in the centre console. Not only is this a large display, it’s also a fully integrated infotainment system.
Climate control, lights and sound, navigation, profile selection and preferences for your trip, as well as most functions of the car can be adjusted with this touch-enabled screen. While this makes for a more minimal-looking interior, we imagine some folks may not be thrilled by the absence of, say, physical dials to control the air-conditioning system.
Anyway, aside from the infotainment screen, the Smart #1 also has a 9.2-inch Full HD digital instrument cluster, along with a 10-inch head-up display.
On the outside, the Smart #1 is quite the looker. The full-width LED headlights and taillights of the electric SUV are eye-catching, and it even has concealed electric door handles (almost like a Tesla), frameless doors, and a floating roof design complete with a sunroof. It can also be fitted with large 19-inch wheels.
Dimension wise, the Smart #1 measures 4,270mm long, 1,822mm wide, and 1,636mm tall with a 2,750mm wheelbase. Basically, this is a quite a sizeable SUV, though the 273L boot space (411L with the rear seats folded) isn’t particularly big. There’s also a 15L front boot to keep smaller items.
What About Pricing?
Unfortunately, Smart did not reveal the price of the Smart #1, though it is said to compete with other EVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, which is priced between RM149,888 to RM199,888 in Malaysia. Of course, it remains to be seen the #1 will sit in the same price range as well.
Nonetheless, it’s worth reiterating the incentives offered by the Malaysian government for EVs right now. Import duty, excise duty, and sales tax will not be applied to the sales of EVs in Malaysia. This is the very reason why EVs such as the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Mercedes-Benz EQA are priced quite well locally.
When Will It Be Available?
The Smart #1 will go into production towards the end of the year; deliveries are expected to begin in 2023. However, it remains to be seen if this will also apply to the Malaysian market, even though it’s confirmed that Proton Edar will be the importer, distributor, and dealer for Smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand.
As per the memorandum of agreement signed between Proton and Smart, Proton Edar will handle the sales and service network for Smart models in these two markets too.
Hopefully, the Smart #1 will enter the Malaysian market sooner rather than later. While it’s unlikely that the electric SUV will be an “affordable” EV on our shores – even with all of the incentives given by the government – it’s always a good thing to have more options for those who are looking to own an EV here.