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Daimler turns to chemistry, BASF to help make Smart car more energy efficient

The Smart car just got a lot smarter, thanks to a new intelligent energy system and lightweight design co-engineered by Daimler and BASF.

Debuting at the Frankfurt auto show last month, the energy efficient Forvision concept car impressed audiences with a slew of innovative materials and design features – something you might expect from one of the world’s top chemical makers, but that you’d rarely get to see outside the chemistry or research lab.

Among the concept’s coolest features:

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  • Infrared-reflective glass that keeps the interior from heating up when parked under the sun
  • Transparent, light-activated solar cells on the roof that power the car’s climate control system
  • Fleece-wrapped chairs that keep passengers cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather
  • Foam-insulated thermal interior
  • Lightweight carbon fiber doors
  • Durable, all-plastic wheels


These energy-efficient, lightweight design elements help power a vehicle that is 50 percent lighter than steel counterparts and 30 percent lighter than aluminum versions.

Dr. Christian Fischer, Head of BASF Polymer Research, added in a statement:

[quote]Cars of the future need materials and technologies which reduce energy consumption whilst also increasing the range and level of comfort. Our innovations make a decisive contribution to this. We are proud to have developed a holistic concept for sustainable urban mobility in cooperation with smart. Together we are presenting a pioneering vehicle which is without parallel.[/quote]

And, if you happen to come down with a case of range anxiety, fear not. The Smart concept would take you 20 percent farther than a traditional EV – plenty of time and miles to find the nearest charging station.

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