No doors, no rear window and an open roof - the Smart FourJoy study (smartspeak for a concept) dispenses with unnecessary ballast. Daimler says this compact four-seater - due to debut next week at the Frankfurt motor show - is the forerunner of a new Smart generation, implying that we are about to see the reincarnation of the ill-fated Smart ForFour as a battery-powered city-car.

It's certainly compact enough at 3494mm long, 1978mm wide and 1494mm high, agile enough with a turning circle of 9.1 metres and clean/green enough with a 55kW magneto-electric drivetrain.

All the original Smart design elements are there - extremely short overhangs, wheels pushed out to the corners, tail lights built into the tridion safety cell and the spherical instrument cluster.

Smart boss Annette Winkler said: “The exterior proportions already reveal a lot about our four-seater production Smart, which will be launched at the end of 2014.”

INTERIOR BY IKEA

The tridion cell of the FourJoy is made from highly polished aluminium, as is the raised logo on each side skirt, in a deliberate attempt to re-position Smart as a premium brand.

The LED headlights have no glass covers, reinforcing the three-dimensional impression of the U-shaped daytime running lights, while the two futuristic-looking front seats and the rear seat bench are styled to look like modern lounge furniture.

The rear of the seats is finished in dark chrome, while perforated and smooth surfaces alternate on the dark floor, making the seats look like they're floating.

A continuous central structure, with touch-sensitive 'switch areas' on a convex surface, supports the seats and the instrument panel, which is made of transparent, illuminated plexiglass into which apertures have been milled.

Two smartphones are mounted on the dashboard and on the centre tunnel at the rear to provide connectivity and entertainment for all four occupants.

MOTORVATION

The FourJoy's 55kW electric motor is powered by a 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack; Smart carefully avoids mentioning the “R” word, but says it will pick up a full charge from dead flat in about seven hours from a 220V domestic socket - or less than an hour using a dedicated wall-box or a public charging station, a rapid-charging cable and the car's onboard 22kW charger.

And, to save you walking the last mile, there are two electrically powered longboards clipped to the top rails of the safety cell and two crash helmets in the boot area, as well as a high-definition sports camera so you can post clips of yourself on social media.