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Mercedes unveils a new all-electric and autonomous Smart prototype for ride-sharing

Ahead of the Frankfurt Motor show next week, Daimler unveiled a new ‘smart vision EQ fortwo’ concept to embody their vision of an electric and autonomous ride sharing service.

The vehicle could give some insights into the future generation of electric Smart cars as the brand is going all-electric in North America.

CEO Annette Winkler said about the new concept:

“The smart vision EQ fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility; it is the most radical car sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalisable and, of course, electric. With the smart vision EQ fortwo, we are giving a face to the themes with which Mercedes-Benz Cars describes the vision of future mobility within the CASE strategy.”

Smart’s current electric vehicles are conversions of their existing gas-powered cars, but under Mercedes, the ‘EQ’ brand is for an all new electric vehicle platform.

Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s and Smart’s parent company, has electric car programs, autonomous vehicle programs, and ride-sharing investments, separately, but they are now looking to combine those together, like most automakers.

They released a few images of the conceptual result today – ‘smart vision EQ fortwo’:

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG, said about the design:

“The smart vision EQ fortwo embodies the urban luxury of the future. It is a radical approach with a cool and minimalist design. The show car has the hallmark smart proportions, with accentuated, pronounced wheel arches at the four corners and with no overhang. A multiplicity of digital surfaces inside and outside allows the next level of communication between human and automobile. The customer is able to personalise the vehicle according to their individual needs.”

Daimler says that the vehicle is equipped with a 30 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is bigger than electric smart car’s current pack, and could potentially allow for a range of over 160 miles.

Electrek’s Take

The smart brand’s move to all-electric resulted in losing 2/3 of US dealerships, which wasn’t encouraging for the prospect of a full transition to electric for the brand.

And of course, those ultra futuristic-looking concepts are virtually never intended to make it to production, which is not helping either.

But you should still take Mercedes’ EQ brand seriously as they are really planning to bring more than ten new electric cars into series production by 2022 and they have taken steps to prepare for it with factory conversions and a new battery supply chain.

On the autonomous front, Daimler has been guiding a timeline for the early 2020s to achieve full autonomy, but it’s unlikely to be with vehicles without steering wheels, like this new smart vision EQ fortwo, at that point.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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