With the Forvision Concept, debuting at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Smart aims at demonstrating its pioneering role in futuristic urban mobility and forward-looking technologies, in the fields of energy efficiency, lightweight design and temperature management.
While some of these technologies are still at a laboratory stage, others have a chance of being adopted on future series models.
Developed with a holistic approach, the Smart Forvision Concept aims at reducing energy consumption while increasing the level of comfort.
Technical highlights include a transparent roof with integrated solar cells and OLEDs, carbon fiber safety cell and doors, all-plastic wheels.
The interior is equipped with advanced textiles, coatings and foams that allow to better manage heating and temperatures.
Below we report selected details from the official release.
Painted in pearl white and accentuated by the tridion safety cell coated with a copper-colored liquid metal paint, there is a deliberate connection between the basic structure of the smart forvision and the design of the smart fortwo.
The aluminum flakes in the liquid metal paintwork create a reflecting surface on the safety cell, changing between light and dark depending on the viewer’s perspective.
Both the panels and the cell of the smart forvision are additionally painted with a scratch-resistant clear coat.
The faceted side doors have integrated door openers: here plastic is presented in a new, expressive and three-dimensional form.
In contrast, the front and rear have a softer design with smooth transitions from the doors.
Just as the integrated door handle does not need an additional component, the familiar smart air inlet is represented by small hexagons located right on the outer skin.
The jet-like rear lights are reminiscent of small aircraft turbines and give the rear a futuristic and sporty look.
Inside the lights, small propellers convey the air from the inside to the outside. In addition to all the light functions needed, transparent stacks in the form of rings around the lights also show the charge status of the battery during charging.
The headlamps are emphasized by a ring comprising the daytime driving lights and indicator functions. The lights add to the likable expression of the smart forvision.
This also applies to the color concept: a cool white dominates in the interior as well, accentuated by the inner part of the instrument panel in liquid copper.
Hexagons in the form of white rubber nubs on a white floor are a reference to the design idiom of the overall vehicle, as is the tone-in-tone design of the seat upholstery.
The faceted surface of the side doors is also found on their inside.
The polygonal surfaces with integrated armrests and stowage compartments curve into the interior.
After closing the door the animation changes to unobtrusive ambient lighting.
The elliptical user interface with a copper colored frame – matching the lightweight tridion – is semi-transparent when switched off.
When the vehicle is switched on all cockpit information is then projected onto the transparent surface. The driver uses a touchscreen to switch between operating menus.
The white steering wheel that is reminiscent of an aircraft yoke additionally gives the cockpit a futuristic look. As well as function buttons the LED display for the battery charge status is found here.
The roof features hexagonal transparent areas and is covered with transparent solar cells based on organic dyes, which are capable of generating enough energy to power the multimedia and the air ventilation systems.
In addition to this, transparent OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) placed under the solar cells illuminate the vehicle interior when the door is opened or at night.
Thanks to a free choice of colors the new OLEDs do not only offer more design freedom, they also consume less than half as much energy as conventional energy-saving lamps.
The structure makes extensive use of carbon fiber – for the tridion passenger cell and the doors – which enables a weight saving of more than 50 percent compared with steel.
The Forvision also features all-plastic wheels – an industry first – which contribute to the overall mass reduction, with a weight saving of three kilograms per wheel.
Unlike conventional polyamide composite materials this new plastic developed by BASF has long reinforcing fibers which improve its mechanical properties, providing excellent thermal and chemical stability, dynamic strength, toughness and good continuous operating characteristics.
First intensive product tests confirm the potential for possible use in production vehicles.
A new, lightweight, self-supporting plastic seat shell forms the basis.
Numerous studies have shown that the body only absorbs heat efficiently through certain contact points.
This is why “e-textiles” – thin fabrics with custom-tailored conductive coatings – replace conventional seat heating in the smart forvision. With direct heating close to the body in the middle and lower back area of the seats they provide for a pleasant feeling of warmth.
The energy, space and weight-saving e-textile technology is also found in the armrests of the doors and ensures that body contact points sensitive to the cold are also warmed in this area.
The innovations continue with the seat foam, which provides for both comfort and weight savings. The material from BASF is around 10 to 20 percent lighter than other materials and enables different degrees of hardness to be realised in different areas of the upholstery in a single work operation – resulting in clear ergonomic advantages.
Superabsorbent containing fleece fabric integrated in the seat greatly enhances seating comfort through its passive climate control. Compared with conventional climate-controlled seats the lightweight seat in the smart forvision does not have the complexity and energy requirement of mechanical ventilation.
As a large amount of energy is needed to air condition and heat a vehicle, temperature management was a key focus area for the smart and BASF researchers.
At the same time they make energy-intensive heating of the whole interior superfluous.
A heat shield that has not been previously used for automotive applications consists of a new kind of infrared-reflective film from BASF applied in the windscreen and side windows, protecting the car interior from heating up.
Integrated between the panes of the safety glass the metal-free film ensures that the infrared rays are effectively reflected.
Thanks to its high transparency in the visible range it can also be applied to tinted windows and guarantees an unprecedented level of reflection of sunlight and heat.
Unlike metallized films, which are already used in some vehicles, the new film reflects only the infrared rays of the sun. Radio waves needed to use GPS, Bluetooth, mobile phones or for toll collection pass through the glass unhindered.
The high-performance foams from BASF fitted in the body panels also provide for a pleasant climate inside the car. They keep the vehicle pleasantly cool in summer and also insulate it against the cold in winter.
Thanks to their high efficiency even in a small width, they can be fitted everywhere in the vehicle. With this innovative insulation system in the smart forvision, the two companies are breaking new ground in the automotive sector.
The infrared-reflective and extremely scratch-resistant coating system covers two important aspects at once.
Firstly, it supports the extensive temperature management system and, secondly, the brilliant and high-quality look of the coating underlines the unique design of the smart forvision.
The concept vehicle features a white special-effect coating with glass flakes that create a gleaming metallic look.
An important side effect: the color white reflects heat rays from sun and light particularly well. But even surfaces coated with dark colors stay much cooler thanks to special color pigments from BASF.
They ensure that heat radiation is reflected rather than absorbed. This leads to a temperature reduction of up to 20 degrees Celsius on the paint surface and of up to approximately four degrees in the vehicle interior.