Smart Unveils Pint-sized Pickup

By Salon Staff

Published January 9, 2012 9:54PM (EST)

DETROIT (AP) — America is about to meet a pint-sized pickup.

Calling it the perfect vehicle for an urban society, Smart on Monday unveiled the "for-us," its tiny take on the classic U.S. pickup truck.

Smart, a division of Germany's Daimler AG, said the concept vehicle is so small that it could fit in the bed of a traditional pickup and be barely noticed. At the same time, it provides enough room for two people to sit comfortably. The truck's cargo bed hold spaces to charge the front wheels of two electric bicycles.

The electrically powered concept truck combines the fun and freedom of a pickup with the practicality and ecofriendly aspects of an economy car, Smart Chief Executive Annette Winkler told reporters at the North American International Auto Show.

Concept cars are ways to test out ideas that may or may not go into production.

Here are the highlights of the car:

POWER: Its lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in less than eight hours. It has a 55-kilowatt magneto-electric motor.

SIZE: The truck is 139.6 inches long, nearly three feet longer than Smart's traditional "fortwo" car.

SPEED: With 96-pound-feet of torque, the "for-us" can go up to 80 mph.

LOOKS: Its interior is mother-of-pearl white and brushed aluminum, with bright yellow seat covers. Instead of a traditional rear-view mirror, a video camera shows the space behind the car on a smart phone mounted above the dash. The truck features Michelin off-road tires mounted on three-spoke wheels with fold-out wing nuts.

CHEERS: The truck's small size would make it easy to park, especially for city dwellers forced to hunt for street parking daily.

JEERS: Did I mention that this truck is really small? In America, Smart has struggled to sell its tiny cars, which must share the road with much larger vehicles. It's unclear if a truck this tiny has a chance of catching on.

Salon Staff

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