One company that you would never think would consider building a pickup truck is Smart. Yet the Mercedes-Benz-owned maker of the ForTwo city car plans to present a small pickup truck-like concept named the For-Us at the coming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
“We at Smart love pickups – if they are small on the outside, large on the inside, very safe and extremely comfortable," said Smart CEO, Annete Winkler. "With the Smart For-Us a petrol station is no longer required!”
Winkler made the last comment because the Smart For-Us is an all-electric model that's makes use of the same setup employed in the car2go experimental car and which is destined to enter production in the spring of 2012.
Smart’s system comprises of a lithium-ion battery with a 17.6 kWh capacity and a magneto-electric motor delivering 55kW (74 HP) and 130 Nm (95.9 lb-ft) for a top speed in excess of 120 km/h (75 mph).
But don’t think that traditional pickups are going to lose any sleep over Smart's new entry. True to the Smart way of thinking, the For-Us concept is extremely compact with a length of 3,547 mm, a width of 1,506 mm and a height of 1,701 mm. In fact, it could easily fit in the loading bay of a full-size pickup truck…
Smart claims that, by increasing the wheelbase by 613 mm to 2,480 mm, and the tracks by 50mm, its latest concept offers plenty of space for two occupants and two Smart ebikes right behind them.
The 900mm-long cargo area has an electrically driven tailboard. When it opens, the cargo floor retracts by 280mm and then the tailgate slides down in a parallel position, making loading easier.
It also sports a docking station that is used for charging the electric-driven bikes, which can be instantly used for going to places where even a very compact car cannot or is not allowed to go.