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smart forvision investigates new materials


September 1, 2011

The smart forvision electric concept

The smart forvision electric concept

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Smart's iconic lightweight fortwo commuter was such a natural for conversion to electric propulsion that it was one of the first zero emission cars with a recognizable badge available in that form. In essence, it changed little from the petrol-engined version apart from the drivetrain.

Now smart has teamed with chemical developer BASF to envisage the fortwo reconstructed with new materials for insulation, reflection, energy management and weight saving. The see-through roof is a technological gem, transmitting light, illuminating the interior when required and generating energy thanks to a sandwich of transparent light-activated solar cells and transparent OLEDs.

The transparent organic dyes of the solar cells are and even in poor light conditions they generate enough energy to power the entertainment system and three fans. In direct sunlight there is far greater energy creation and even when parked the ventilation fans keep running to keep the car cool. The roof's transparent OLEDs replace conventional lighting, while consuming half the electricity.

The capabilities of the roof will no doubt offer new ways of thinking about using power and light intelligently, as it can be made in any color, and when production comes about, it will further enhance the smart's role as the darling of external car redecorators.

If the roof excites you, so too will the wheels, which are made of plastic and claimed to be near ready for high volume production with excellent thermal and chemical stability, dynamic strength, toughness and good continuous operating characteristics. Smart claims a weight reduction of three kilograms per wheel, with strength being enhanced by long reinforcing fibers.

smart says the end result of the forvision's high tech makeover is an increase in range of 20 percent over the standard electric fortwo, with exactly the same powertrain.


Except the energy required to produce the raw material and for the construction of a metallic wheel, I do not see what can be "eco friendly" on a wheel made of compounds without the possibility of selection and not recyclable. "Plastic composite" are the two words most anti-ecological in any language I know.


Re Sergius

There are numerous ways of recycling plastics, so without knowing the composition you can not honestly say that it can not be recycled.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS! With a properly designed incinerator you can burn every \"Plastic composite\" with virtually no toxic emissions, and get more money out of the system than you put in.

ps. I use the term \"money\" instead of \"energy\" to avoid violating the Laws of Thermodynamics, and it must be cost effective to be done.


There is nothing wrong with plastic, especially when it allows us to lighten a vehicle. I think we will see more and more of it replacing steel and other metals. Plastic exterior body panels pop back out when dented just like new! I don\'t know if parts forming is cheaper with plastic but it certainly is easier. I think we will see more fiber optics replace the yards and yards of copper wire in vehicles of the future. When it comes time to scrap a vehicle, plastic should be recovered just like the steel and other metals in a car. And like Slowburn says, as a last resort, with the right incinerator, you can burn plastic without toxic emissions (except pvc which has clorides.) I prefer to say, with the right pyrolyzer, you can turn almost any plastic back into the oil from wench it came!

Will, the tink

fiber optics - not so much plastic, very much high-optical-quality glass strands.

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