Two months after the order books were opened, the smart #1 has officially gone on sale in China with the official announcement of prices. The car, which is both the company’s first SUV and its first dedicated electric vehicle, is slightly cheaper than previously expected, with all models retailing under the 230,000 yuan (RM151,500) mark.
In fact, a new entry-level Pure+ variant has been added to drop the price to 181,600 yuan (RM119,600). The Pro+, meanwhile, is more expensive than its pre-sale estimate of 190,000 yuan (RM125,200) suggested, costing 196,600 yuan (RM129,500). The Premium+ tops the range at 226,600 yuan (RM149,300).
All models are powered by the same rear-mounted electric motor, producing 200 kW (272 PS) and 343 Nm of torque, enabling it to get from zero to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. Also fitted to all variants is a 66 kWh lithium-ion battery, providing a range of 535 km on the CLTC cycle.
The Premium+ is slightly more efficient thanks to silicon carbide being employed in the motor (likely in the inverter), enabling it to travel an extra 25 km at 560 km. China’s test cycle is clearly more lenient than the WLTP, on which the #1 managed a range of only 439 km.
Charging the #1’s battery to 80% takes seven and a half hours using a 7.5 kW AC wallbox, although European models can support up to 22 kW of charging power that will slash the time needed to under three hours. The car can also accept up to 150 kW of DC fast charging that can fill the battery in just 30 minutes.
The #1 is the first product of a joint venture between Geely and Mercedes-Benz, riding on the former’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) and exhibiting the latter’s design. As such, the pebble-smooth aesthetic has shades of Stuttgart’s own creations, with details that include full-width LED head- and taillights, a trapezoidal front air intake with contrasting surrounding trim, flush door handles and a “floating roof” with an inset smart badge.
Inside, the #1 features a pill-shaped dashboard that flows into the tall “floating” centre console. The cabin is dominated by large 12.8-inch touchscreen, incorporating a globe-style “Inspiration Planet” interface with video game-style low-polygon elements (including a fox avatar as part of its voice control system, which is claimed to be able to learn the user’s voice using artificial intelligence).
The operating system runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8155 processor and pumps music through an optional 13-speaker Beats sound system. A slim 9.2-inch instrument display and an available ten-inch head-up display are also fitted, while a smart car smartphone app (confusing, I know) allows users to access vehicular functions and other services remotely, such as playing a light and music show on the outside.
Other features include six-way power-adjustable seats (with heating and ventilation), dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a large panoramic glass roof, Qi wireless charging and a hands-free powered tailgate. There’s even a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function that allows the car to charge another electric vehicle at up to 3.3 kW.
smart is offering several incentives to early-bird customers, including rebates of up to 12,000 yuan (RM7,900), a lifetime powertrain warranty, a 7.2 kW wallbox charger (also designed by Mercedes) and a gift package for those who order before September 30.
As part of the launch, the company also previewed a high-performance version of the #1, featuring twin nostrils ahead of the bonnet edge. This matches the rumoured Brabus variant that was spied in April, reportedly producing 299 kW (406 PS) from twin electric motors that provide all-wheel drive.
The #1’s Chinese-market launch is just the start – the car will also go on sale in the United Kingdom starting in December. It will make its Malaysian-market debut soon after, with Proton Edar being appointed as the local distributor for the smart brand.
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