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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Smart Car

Posted by on June 27 at 14:13 PM


On sale soon in Seattle and a few other select cities, according to the New York Times. Cost: Probably between $12,000 and $15,000. Fuel efficiency: 46 mi./gal. (in city). Size: less than 9 feet long.

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I saw one of those waiting in ferry traffic the other day. They're reasonably popular in Europe I'm told; and also supposed to be pretty safe. Theres some YouTube footage of crash tests/saftey features.

That thing is cute as the dickens.

We've had them in England for years, they're nippy as anything but sadly, don't appeal to those who need a big truck to extend their penis (read "Americans" in the mind of most Europeans....). Maybe Al Gore's movie'll change things, although I noticed even he drives a Jeep!

46 mpg, won't haul shit, 12k. Give me a break. Smart marketing maybe.

Commuter bike: $100 - 500, 20 miles on a small bowl of cereal, Size: you can park it in your hallway.

I think i could probably maneuver that through the aisles of my gorcery store. It's definately for city bound folks only. The granolas are going to have a tough time getting two sea kayaks on top of it for their trip to the San Jauns. Most importantly however... does it come with a boomin sound system, stock?

already on sale here in the PNW:

Sadly, $26,000. Hopefully wider availability will drag the price down.

I don't know if they'll be retooled for the U.S. market, but when I was in Germany a few years back, it was clear these babies weren't just intended for in-city use. They were quite common on the autobahns & could keep up with just about any other car in the fast lane - once clocked one doing over 150 kph.

Or you can just buy a Honda Civic, get more than 50 mpg, more for the non-hybrid and have no probs.

Or buy a scooter and get 100 mpg.

It's your call.

This is making me think: Is there anyone doing eco-philanthropy (sort of an eco-Gates Foundation type thing)?

It would be great if there were someone giving grants to us poor folks so we could swap out our less earth-friendly cars for something like this.

woah that video was awesome!

70mph!!! straight into concrete. that's one tought little cookie.

All it needs is a Kerry bumper sticker and a "Live Simply so that Others can Simply Live" bumpler sticker.

these are all over Vancouver too. if companies can be given huge incentives to buy SUV's and Trucks, then city dwellers should be given incentives to buy Smart cars. seattle loves their plush SUV's with seat warmers though. which reminds me, can't we make the floating bridges toll bridges? keep those cockwads off our side of the lake.

I saw Smart Cars all over Europe, and they are pretty cool. Super cute, fantastic gas mileage, cheap. A seemingly perfect commuter car.

So I was all excited when I saw that the Green Car Co in Kirkland was selling these things about a month ago. But then I started checking the details. $27K (about twice the price they are in Europe), or $30K for the convertible. The initial EPA tests for the first batch of USA converted Smarts was only 37 mpg, which can be achieved by any number of small Japanese cars at half the price. And they use premium gas, so you burn less of it, but get to pay an extra twenty cents or so a gallon every time you fill up. Needless to say, my excitement waned considerably.

If they actually start producing them in quantity, and if they truly get 45+ mpg in city, on regular unleaded gas, then I'll be one of the first to drop $10K-$15K on one of these babies. But if the overpriced bastardized versions at the Green Car Co are the best they can do, forget it.

Nice idea, still uses the same depleting, cost-rising fuel source. It'd be smart if it used Hydrogen, solar panels or something else. As it stands, it uses less of the status quo, but is still part of the status quo, which solves nothing.

Yes, the Smart still uses fossil fuels, but something that "uses less of the status quo" is not without value.

Thanks to Anthony for posting the URL of that video!

Smart cars rule. And one thing the crash tests don't test is the very important fact that some cars are better able to AVOID crashes in the first place, and are thus safer, sometimes dramatically safer, even if their crash results are worse. This is another strike against SUVs and pickups, which have shitty brakes and shittier handling. The popular belief that SUVs are safer because they can survive crashes better is a LIE in more ways than one.

Also please compare your MPG apples to apples, i.e., in-city to in-city. Actually in Seattle real-life conditions, it's a rare car that gets as much as 30 MPG in-city, because of the hills.

The REAL Smarts run on diesel and get even better mileage. That's clean Euro diesel, not sulphurous USA diesel.

Smart Cars rule, hybrids drool. And "hydrogen" cars are a load of bollocks.

Just FYI: The US is now switching to ultra low sulphur diesel (15ppm), starting 6/1/06. 2007 and later cars won't be able to use the current 500ppm fuel.

There's nothing inherently bad about brake technology on SUVs, but the increased mass of such vehicles does make them much less nimble and much deadlier to people in other vehicles.

We should have speed limits based on vehicle weight; some areas due, but they're only applied to large trucks or vehicles with trailers. If the scale was spread over a larger scope of vehicles — if the choice was 35 MPH in an Escalade or 70 MPH in a Smart — many would choose the Smart.

Saw one in the West Seattle Junction a few days ago. Yes, they're cute and everything, but I'll stick with my bike.

About 15 years ago, I had a Honda CRX, which was basically a shrunk down 2-seater Civic. It got well over 40mpg on the highway (I used to have to drive back and forth to Everett every day). Somewhat less in the city. Granted, it was one of the smallest, most fuel efficient Japanese cars of that time, but there are a number of small cars today that get quite good mileage: most of the Scions get around 30mpg in city, the Mini Cooper, the new Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris, the Hyundai Accent. With the exception of the Min Cooper, all of these are in the $10K-$15K range, and burn regular unleaded. And both the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrids get way better mileage, have more room, and don't cost as much as the Kirkland Smarts.

A $30,000 Smart car that only gets 37mpg on premium does not excite me. On the other hand, if they can start importing $15K Smart cars that get 45+mpg on regular, now THAT would excite me. I'd seriously buy one this week.

I'm not quite sure what happened with the gas mileage. I've read a couple of reports of 37mpg, but neither gave an explanation. That is significantly worse mileage than the European version gets. A couple of possible explanations is that the USA conversions either added significant weight to the car, or higher emissions standards reduced fuel efficiency (or both). But I'm just speculating.

Oh, and Smart Cars are not sluggish. The USA conversions put a governor on them to prevent them from going over 85 miles per hour (I suspect it has something to do with emissions or mpg tests; again, no explanation was given). Without that, they'd be even faster.

Finally they might bring a more eco friendly car to the states. If the auto makers would do this more often guys like the green car company wouldn't have to sell them so high. I tried to get one myself from europe last year and the cost would have been $35k!!

There are at least 5 of them in my neighborhood here in Vancouver. And many businesses use them also municipal vehicles are Smart cars.

They were showing them off last weekend at Pride. Not too bad inside...

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