One of the oddest concept cars doing the auto show rounds at present makes its North American debut in Detroit this week. First shown in Paris last year, the smart forstars concept has a video projector mounted in the hood, turning the pint-sized EV into mobile drive-in.

The concept draws both its motive and video projection power from a 17.6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery with a 60-kilowatt magneto-electric motor driving the wheels to a top speed of 80 km/h.

The video projector unit comes into play anywhere you can find a flat surface to park in front of. It is smartphone controlled via a Bluetooth link and extra speakers are built into the vents behind the doors to round out the outdoor cinema experience. The ubiquitous smartphone can also be hooked into a rear facing video camera feed to replace the rear view mirror.

While the projector might not be a regular feature in upcoming smart models, according to the company the concept does offer a "sneak peek into the future of smart's design direction." Most notably, the car has a wider track and longer wheelbase than the current smart fortwo.

New generation smart electric drive

smart is also showcasing the
smart fortwo electric drive in Detroit. After an extensive period of real-world testing that began in 2009 and included 250 vehicles in the United States, the fortwo electric drive will finally hit the U.S. retail market in 2013.

The specs for the electric drive fortwo stack up well for such a tiny car – its 55-kilowatt electric motor delivers 96 lb.-ft. of torque and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 12 seconds with a top speed of approximately 78 mph. smart says the car gets 122 city MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) and has an EPA tested range of 76 miles in city driving.

The smart electric drive will be priced at US$25,000 with the option of a cabriolet model setting buyers back another $3000.

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) runs from January 14-27 at the Cobo Center in Detroit. Stay tuned for all the latest from the show floor.

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