smart forvision investigates new materials
By Jack Martin
September 1, 2011
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.