From Smart press: smart has always been a pioneer in matters of urban mobility and with the smart fortwo electric drive the company is showing the direction of development in cities around the world. Together with BASF, the largest automotive supplier in the chemical industry, smart is demonstrating its leading role in the use of forward-looking technologies above and beyond the drive system. The joint concept vehicle smart forvision presented at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt combines a futuristic design with technologies relating to energy efficiency, lightweight design and temperature management.
"With the forvision smart is doing justice to its role as Daimler's think tank for urban mobility. We are presenting numerous world premieres that make uncompromising electric mobility possible. With the clear objective of greatly increasing the zero-emission range we concerned ourselves with all factors that influence this on the vehicle. This resulted in completely new concepts and materials in the areas of insulation, reflection, lightweight design and energy management. In addition to transparent organic solar cells, transparent and energy-saving light-emitting diodes and infrared-reflective films and coatings, high-performance foams are used for insulation against cold and heat. smart is also setting new standards of lightweight design with the use of the first all-plastic wheels", says Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "In conjunction with smart's revolutionary DNA, we have designed a vehicle that is so unique that we can't wait to take it out of the research laboratory and onto the roads!"
The hexagonal transparent areas on the roof of the smart forvision are an eye-catching feature – as the first light-transmitting roof that also generates energy. Transparent solar cells covering the entire roof surface are the technology used here. They are based on organic dyes embedded in a sandwich roof. The transparent dyes of the solar cells are light-activated. Even in diffused light and poor light conditions they generate enough energy to power the multimedia components and the three fans that assist with climate management in the vehicle interior. If the vehicle is standing in the sun the ventilation is permanently operated with the help of these solar cells, keeping the car cool. This new photovoltaic technology opens up further efficiency potential and the energy generated can be used for further applications in the car.
There is an additional new feature under the solar cells: transparent OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) illuminate the vehicle interior when the door is opened or a button pressed. When switched off they allow for a clear view outside. This results in a glass roof effect during the daytime, whilst the areas are pleasantly illuminated without any dazzle at night. Thanks to a free choice of colours the new OLEDs do not only offer more design freedom, they also consume less than half as much energy as conventional energy-saving lamps.
In the smart forvision a world first leads to a considerable weight reduction and a unique design: the first all-plastic wheel suitable for high-volume production. In its current development status, the wheel developed by BASF from a new high-performance material results in a considerable weight saving of three kilograms per wheel. Unlike conventional polyamide composite materials this new plastic has long reinforcing fibres which improve its mechanical properties. The result: excellent thermal and chemical stability, dynamic strength, toughness and good continuous operating characteristics. First intensive product tests at smart show the performance capability of the all-plastic wheel and confirm the potential for possible use in production vehicles.
The innovations continue with the seat foam, which provides for both comfort and weight savings. The material from BASF is around 10 to 20 percent lighter than other materials and enables different degrees of hardness to be realised in different areas of the upholstery in a single work operation – resulting in clear ergonomic advantages.
Superabsorbent containing fleece fabric integrated in the seat greatly enhances seating comfort through its passive climate control. Compared with conventional climate-controlled seats the lightweight seat in the smart forvision does not have the complexity and energy requirement of mechanical ventilation.
A heat shield that has not been previously used for automotive applications consists of a new kind of infrared-reflective film from BASF applied in the windscreen and side windows, protecting the car interior from heating up. Integrated between the panes of the safety glass the metal-free film ensures that the infrared rays are effectively reflected. Thanks to its high transparency in the visible range it can also be applied to tinted windows and guarantees an unprecedented level of reflection of sunlight and heat. Unlike metallized films, which are already used in some vehicles, the new film reflects only the infrared rays of the sun. Radio waves needed to use GPS, Bluetooth, mobile phones or for toll collection pass through the glass unhindered.
The infrared-reflective and extremely scratch-resistant coating system covers two important aspects at once. Firstly, it supports the extensive temperature management system and, secondly, the brilliant and high-quality look of the coating underlines the unique design of the smart forvision. The concept vehicle features a white special-effect coating with glass flakes that create a gleaming metallic look. An important side effect: the colour white reflects heat rays from sun and light particularly well. But even surfaces coated with dark colours stay much cooler thanks to special colour pigments from BASF. They ensure that heat radiation is reflected rather than absorbed. This leads to a temperature reduction of up to 20 degrees Celsius on the paint surface and of up to approximately four degrees in the vehicle interior.
Painted in pearl white and accentuated by the tridion safety cell coated with a copper-coloured liquid metal paint, there is a deliberate connection between the basic structure of the smart forvision and the design of the smart fortwo. Trendy yet high quality – the aluminium flakes in the liquid metal paintwork create a reflecting surface on the safety cell, changing between light and dark depending on the viewer's perspective. Both the panels and the cell of the smart forvision are additionally painted with an extremely scratch-resistant clear coat.
The faceted side doors with integrated door openers are a real eye-catcher. Here, plastic is presented in a new, expressive and three-dimensional form; a reinterpretation that is only possible at smart thanks to the consistent use of plastic. The precise facets give the area stability and enable a smaller material thickness to be used. Optimal use is made of the possibilities offered by plastic as a material. In contrast, the front and rear have a softer design with smooth transitions from the doors. Just as the integrated door handle does not need an additional component, the familiar smart air inlet is represented by small hexagons located right on the outer skin.
The smart forvision not only shows that electric mobility can make emission-free driving possible. At the same time, it paves the way for new technologies in the automotive sector. Many of these innovations are based on nano technology, the key to the development of sustainable solutions. Nano materials serve as drivers of innovation in the automotive industry, as they do in the fields of construction, energy, healthcare and electronics.