Smart boss Annette Winkler with her new toy - the Smart ForSpeed Concept.
Smart boss Annette Winkler with her new toy - the Smart ForSpeed Concept.
Someday all Smarts will look like this. According to Mercedes head of design, Steffen Kohl: "Look at the fullness of the cars exterior surfaces. This is important and will be reflected in future production models."
Someday all Smarts will look like this. According to Mercedes head of design, Steffen Kohl: "Look at the fullness of the cars exterior surfaces. This is important and will be reflected in future production models."
What looks like an instrument binnacle on the passenger side is actually a docking port for a smartphone.
What looks like an instrument binnacle on the passenger side is actually a docking port for a smartphone.

No Cyril, this is not a giant roller skate - this is the battery-powered Smart ForSpeed concept roadster, due to make its world debut at the Geneva auto show on March 2.

It has a honeycomb mesh grille, LED headlights (a smart move - pun intended - on a car where every amp counts) , solar cells in the base of the windscreen and a hidden plug-in socket under the smart badge on the rear to amp up the lithium-ion battery.

Like the newly-announced Smart ForTwo, the interior is all about “downsized premium design” (that's designerspeak for small but expensive) with brown and green leather trim, shiny plastics, brushed aluminium accents and exposed bolt heads on the door panels, centre console and steering wheel.

It also has a docking port for a smartphone on the passenger's side of the fascia - not such a smart idea as it replaces an airbag with a rigid protuberance that could be lethal in a crash. No matter - this is just a concept; Smart Boss Dr Annette Winkler says she has no intention of putting the ForSpeed into production.

Why then, we have to ask, is the concept a runner, with a 40kW electric motor in the rear - plus a 5kW overboost available at the flick of switch - delivering a top speed of 120km/h and a range of 135km .

The roadster design is reminiscent of the 2002 Smart CrossBlade concept but its real purpose is to preview the shape of the next-generation ForTwo and (possibly) ForFour models.

According to Mercedes head of design, Steffen Kohl: “Look at the fullness of the car's exterior surfaces. This is important and will be reflected in future production models.”

Does that mean they'll look like roller-skates too?

Mercedes is also taking a leaf out of BMW's book with a battery-powered Smart scooter and an electrically-assisted bicycle, which will be shown alongside the ForSpeed at Geneva. Expect to see the two-wheelers at a Smart dealer near you early in 2013 and the next-generation ForTwo and ForFour models in 2014.