Smart's new EV: solar energy and plastic tires

Summary:Smart is set to release the Forvision, featuring innovations on energy, weight, and temperature management, at this week's Frankfurt Auto Show.

Daimler's subsidiary Smart, maker of seemingly impossibly small cars, is set to present its new electric vehicle at the Frankfurt Auto Show this week.

"With the Forvision Smart is doing justice to its role as Daimler's think tank for urban mobility," said Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of Smart. "With the clear objective of greatly increasing the zero-emission range we concerned ourselves with all factors that influence this on the vehicle. This resulted in completely new concepts and materials in the areas of insulation, reflection, lightweight design and energy management."

Notably, the diminutive car uses solar energy, featuring invisible organic solar cells on top of the car. During the day, the cells provide light and energy, and at night they become built-in LED lights.

The Forvision's also sports all-plastic wheels, the first of the kind suitable for high-volume production. Their composition makes each wheel three kilograms lighter than normal wheels. The car has a tridion passenger cell, and doors made of carbon-fiber-reinforced epoxy resin make the car 50 percent lighter compared to those made with steel, and 30 percent lighter compared to those made with aluminum.

Features like a heat shield made of infrared reflective film keep the car from overheating, while a metallic-looking white special-effect coating and special color pigments provided by BASF reflect heat radiation from the sun.

"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," according to a statement from Daimler.

Daimler says the new version will have 20 percent more range than the Fortwo, its predecessor, getting around 96 miles on a single charge.

Photos: Daimler

via [Earth Techling]

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Full Bio

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