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smart for-us concept puts a mega-pickup spin on the fortwo

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December 7, 2011

The smart for-us is a concept car, that combines a smart fortwo with a pickup truck

The smart for-us is a concept car, that combines a smart fortwo with a pickup truck

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Much as some people loathe it, I've always kind of liked the Subaru Baja. It has the quirky short-bed car/truck look of the Hummer, but isn't anywhere near as large and nasty as that vehicle. Well, the designers at smart have taken the "little Hummer" idea to the extreme, with the for-us concept. Premiering next month at the North American International Auto Show, the two-seater electric car looks pretty much like a smart fortwo ... with a little cargo bed in back.

The for-us is a little larger than the fortwo - 613 mm (24 inches) longer, and 50 mm (2 inches) wider on each side. Its drive system consists of a 55-kilowatt magneto-electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, delivering 130 Nm (95.88 ft lbs) of torque. Its top speed is reportedly over 120 mph (193 km/h), although there's no word on range.

The 900-mm (3-foot) rear cargo area could presumably handle a rough, tough mountain bike or two, although it's designed to accommodate a couple of smart ebikes - there's even a docking station, to keep their batteries charged. The idea is that the car(?) could be driven to a pedestrian zone or municipal trail system, at which point the bikes would take over.

The smart for-us is a concept car, that combines a smart fortwo with a pickup truck

One of the for-us' snazzier features is a powered retracting tailboard, which pulls back to allow the tailgate to lie flat, in turn allowing for easy access to the cargo area. The vehicle also features a rear-view camera, which is viewed through a smartphone mounted on top of the instrument panel.

Will we ever see the smart for-us for sale? Who knows? The prototype can be seen at the auto show in Detroit, however, from January 14th to 22nd.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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10 Comments

Other than it's small size, the Smart car isn't that bright. Here in the US, they barely break 40mpg. I can get that in a Ford Fiesta that seats at least 4, will make highway speeds, and at the same price! Plus the Fiesta isn't that much larger.

Now they want to make it a pickup? Really? I like small car designs, this is rather dumb.

VoiceofReason
7th December, 2011 @ 08:58 pm PST

I love the design and concept. If the price is right I will buy one.

Tom Nesbitt
8th December, 2011 @ 07:28 am PST

Yes VoiceofReason, it takes a smart person to understand the smart car (please read up on the facts before commenting again). I am glad you love the Fiesta, it wasn't available in 2008 in the US, a base fiesta costs about $2,000 more than a base smart, the smart remains the production car with the lowest mpg in the US (short of much more expensive hybrids), so imagine how great a mileage you could get in a smart (given that the EPA listing shows about 3-5 mpg better performance than the Fiesta).

Not everyone needs to drive around 4-5 people, so why have that extra heft and length for that rear bench? And: Rumor has it my smart goes 90 mph (I wouldn't know, because I would never speed :)). I also like this fun little concept. And since you clearly won't buy a smart, it doesn't matter what you think about it.

smarter
8th December, 2011 @ 07:40 am PST

Back in 1999 the Smartfor2 Sport Coupe sounded real interesting as a city car but, the Sport Coupe never reached the shores of the USA. It may have caught on as a excellent alternate choice but, I'm thinking the big auto manufacturers had other ideas for our bucks. They gave us a Hummer as I recall.

YukonJack
8th December, 2011 @ 10:37 am PST

@ Smarter....the EPA rates the Smartfourtwo at a whopping ONE mpg more than the Ford Fiesta. If I really wanted to be smart about it, and they were available in the states, I could get a VW Polo with a diesel that could run circles around the Smart car. According to the Ford website, the base Fiesta starts at 13,200 which is about 700 more than the Smart car not 2000.

Personally, I'd rather have a VW Polo diesel that gets close to 80 mpg, but they don't import a car that smart here.

VoiceofReason
8th December, 2011 @ 10:27 pm PST

I love the concept, if it's executed anywhere near as well as this sketch (never a given these days). I liked Toyota's A-BAT concept, too. In fact, the A-BAT could replace my current Toyota Tacoma, as I can fit a 4x8' piece of plywood in my truck, and the A-BAT was supposed to be able to do this too, by folding down the rear seats and using it's clever bed extender. If the Smart vehicle could incorporate these ideas, it would make for a great, flexible vehicle. I want the automakers to give me something I can use to carry stuff, without having to drive a giant truck. I'm amazed that the automakers haven't been able to figure out how to do this.

the webman
8th December, 2011 @ 10:30 pm PST

Not particularly useful, but infinitely cooler looking than the four two. Great beach car!

Dave Andrews
9th December, 2011 @ 06:18 am PST

not electric- that means it is targeted to city dwellers who never get mud on their fenders. bring it with diesel and bring it home. I hesitate to say I like it, as that is the the kiss of death for product line, (I did like the Baja, and the Brat)-but why can't Chevy bring its small Car/truck (Chevy Tornado) to the lower 48?

Jeff Bequette
9th December, 2011 @ 07:49 am PST

@voiceofreason Sorry, I just checked cars.com, but I am glad I got you to also check facts, and minor differences or not, the smart remains the cheapest, highest mpg gasoline powered (non-hybrid) automobile available in the US (4 years after its introduction mind you). Incidentally the Fiesta that is "only" $700 (fills quite a few tanks in my smart) more than the smart is the not-so-sexy sedan. The 1mpg difference refers to the highway mileage only, it is still a 4 mpg difference in the city. Talking about cars that are unavailable in the US that I would like to own: a smart fortwo CDI ... About 70-80mpg. And: A Mercedes Sprinter (CDI) 4WD (as a camper). The Polo is a nice car, but definitely quite a bit more expensive than either the Fiesta or smart (and, of course, unavailable in the US).

smarter
10th December, 2011 @ 10:23 pm PST

@voiceofreason you should practice what your name implies. Just because a car is tiny doe's not mean it will be overly economical. The Smart is heavy and has the aerodynamics of a barn door. Your perception of it competing on fuel efficiency alone is flawed and throwing reason out the door. The Smart actually excels at what it was designed to do but with compromises in other areas. One could say the Fiesta you suggest is lacking in the dept the Smart is good at.

Can't figure why you feel the need to run the Smart car down when you are obviously not interested in it and have never used one.

Having owned two Smarts and now an IQ the P/U looks a viable vehicle hope they produce it. For those who think the USA is the center of the universe bear in mind the rest of the world, a diverse market.

dgate
11th May, 2012 @ 06:31 am PDT
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