Friday, December 23, 2005

DaimlerChrysler Stalls Smart Launch in U.S.

DaimlerChrysler Stalls Smart Launch in U.S.
Date posted: 12-20-2005

STUTTGART, Germany — DaimlerChrysler has delayed into 2006 a decision on whether to launch its Smart minicar brand in the United States, according to Reuters.
A decision that was originally set to be made by the end of 2005 may wait until the Geneva car show in late February. DaimlerChrysler has been considering whether the successor to the two-seat Fortwo model would get a U.S. launch in the second half of 2007.
Smart chief Ulrich Walker has said it should be possible to sell 20,000 vehicles a year in cities on the U.S. coasts. Smart sold 140,000 vehicles around the world last year.
What this means to you: Sounds like DaimlerChrysler has yet to make a sound business case for bringing the Smart brand here.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Think Pink

See the new special edition pink fortwo available in the UK here.

The smart fortwo grandstyle Delivers Looks and Performance

Böblingen, Nov 28, 2005 — Combining quality and elegance: the smart fortwo grandstyle with a silver tridion safety cell and bodypanels in exclusive "dark green metallic." The special model will be delivered to customers from February 2006 and can be ordered right away.
The smart fortwo grandstyle is available as a fortwo coupé or a fortwo cabrio, with a 45 kW (61 bhp) petrol engine or a 30 kW (41 bhp) diesel engine fitted with a diesel particle filter as standard. The smart fortwo grandstyle offers customers looking for a vehicle with lifestyle appeal lots of fun behind the wheel coupled with an attractive price/performance ratio.
Available as an option: classy beige leather trim comprising heated leather seats, interior door trim and storage pockets in beige leather and a black leather-effect instrument panel.
Also available: the audio package with MP3 interface (for the connection of external audio devices), a clock and a rev counter. Moreover, special silver-painted contrast components give the vehicle's interior a strikingly high-quality feel. The petrol-engine variants cost € 11,600 and € 14,300 respectively in Germany and the diesel variants are available at a price of € 12,500 and € 15,200 (prices refer to the fortwo coupé and the fortwo cabrio). The leather trim costs € 750.

View source.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Zenn and the art of city driving

What sets ZENN apart from the crowd? Unlike other neighborhood electric vehicles, it has the form and features of a real car: it’s a fully-enclosed, three-door hatchback with a performance-proven, steel-reinforced body. That translates into a tremendous safety advantage.
ZENN not only looks like a car; it performs like one, too. Equipped with front-wheel drive, brisk acceleration and capable of achieving a regulated maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), it keeps pace with traffic on local streets to get you where you’re going safely and in good time. And ZENN’s battery efficiency gives you the freedom to cover a lot of ground: 30 to 40 miles per charge (50 to 60 kilometres).
At the same time, ZENN delivers the environmental advantages of an electric vehicle, generating zero greenhouse-gas emissions. Compare that to the 657 pounds of regulated tailpipe emissions produced by the typical gas-powered car every year.
And ZENN is protected by a comprehensive three-year warranty, the best on the market for its class. That warranty is backed by Feel Good Cars’ commitment to fully support ZENN dealers in delivering first-rate customer service, day in and day out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

smart Shows Diesel and Gasoline Hybrids, EV and CNG Prototypes of smart Car

12 December 2005, Green Car Congress
DaimlerChrysler’s smart division has developed a series of concept test cars that incorporate a range of advanced and alternative-fuel technologies: gasoline and diesel hybrids, cng-fueled, and electric.
These follow on the premiere of the crosstown hybrid showcar concept presented at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
The crosstown hybrid. The crosstown smart car prototype combines an electric motor (with an output of up to 23 kW) with the 45 kW (61 hp) gasoline engine from the smart fortwo.
The result is a 15% reduction in fuel consumption to 4.3 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers (55 mpg US). The smart crosstown furthermore offers approximately 10% better acceleration (the production car requires 15.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h).
The mild hybrid system offers start-stop capability as well as assistance during acceleration and during gear changes.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Does the smart car have a future?

December 13, 2005
by Mathieu St-Pierre ,
The smart fortwo has been on the Canadian market for less than 18 months and it has not sold as well as DaimlerChrysler, smart's parent company, would have liked. Worse, global sales have not been very good either. In fact, since its inception, smart has never turned a profitable dollar or Euro for that matter. Since 1998, and because of smart, DCX has lost EUR2.6bn and 2005 is looking like another lost cause even if they sell more cars than last year.
2005 has been tough. Two models were flushed: the Roadster and the formore SUV. Financial losses are estimated at EUR600m. The forfour 4-seater is not catching on as well as the fortwo and smart's entry into the American market is still very doubtful.
At the moment, smart is undergoing a EUR1.1bn restructuring process with the goal to make the car company profitable by 2007. By the same year, the next-generation fortwo will be launched and the most recent plans also include the introduction of the smart in the US.
There are two opinions amongst industry analysts: do it and don't do it, move into the US market that is. The success of the next generation fortwo will have much to do with the decision of whether DCX will invest in a second-generation forfour.
DaimlerChrysler is working on merging certain aspects of the smart's development process with Mercedes. With hopes of keeping costs down and interest up, smart is working hard to make 2007 the year of the 180-degree turn-around.
Let us hope they can do it.

View source here.

smart sales climb 5.5 percent through November

Despite the continued sluggishness of the small-car segment, the number of smart cars delivered to customers between January and November rose by 5.5 percent compared to the same period last year, to 132,900 units. A total of 11,700 units were delivered to customers in the month of November.
Total sales of the smart forfour were up by approximately 37 percent through November, and the four-seater's sales in Italy — the brand’s most important market — more than doubled from the figure posted for the first eleven months of 2004. The smart fortwo continues to display stable development in its seventh year of existence, with sales through November at nearly the same level recorded for the period January-November 2004.

Source: daimlerchrysler

Sunday, December 11, 2005

ZAP Xebra Electric Vehicle

The fun, compact and affordable electric vehicle.
Approximate MSRP $8,995.

Speed: Up to 40 mph (65 km/ph)
Range: Up to 40 miles (65 km)
Charger: Onboard 110 Volt AV

Motor: DC
Seating: Up to 4
Battery: Lead Acid

Classification: 3 wheel motor driven cycle
Dimensions: 9.5’ Length (290 cm) x 4.66’ Width (142 cm) x 5.05’ Height (154 cm)
Colors: Kiwi Green, Aqua Turquoise, Sunset Red and Zebra Flash
Options: Luggage rack, Leather Seats, 220V Charger

Sold only through ZAP Authorized Dealers

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Smart car runs 340,000 miles in 5 years

By Haje Jan Kamps, 08/11/2005

The iconic car, first registered in 2000, is still running on the original 3-cylinder engine and gearbox. It began its life 5 years ago doing daily trips of almost 200 miles for a German dental laboratory and has since been run by an automotive magazine.
The car’s repair history during its marathon mileage has been unspectacular: the original brakes were changed at 84,000 miles and the clutch at 96,000 miles. All other repairs have been minor and the car is still going strong.
Chris Smith, Car Editor at Glass’s Guide, said: "Facts like these underpin our opinion that the smart fortwo has the best residual value of any of its competitors."
Jeremy Simpson, head of smart in the UK and Ireland, said: "Many people make the assumption that small cars are not particularly durable, however, smart is no ordinary small car because it is engineered by Mercedes-Benz. It has been seven years since the original fortwo was launched in Europe and so it’s no surprise to see stories like this appearing around the world."
The smart fortwo was launched in the UK in October 2000 and there are now more than 37,000 models on British roads.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Route 66 the smart way

Rare brick stretch of Route 66 near Auburn, Illinois.

Smartimes Magazine, November 2005
An ex-pat Brit has shown the Americans that size isn’t everything, and bigger is not always better.
Former Sussex resident Rupert Lloyd Thomas, with his Canadian wife Annette, has driven the smallest car the US has ever seen across the 2,300 miles of Route 66 - and more. Said Rupert ‘Here’s the lowdown: Drive the smart car down old-time Route 66 in the US of A to see what the good old boys think about this small wonder. The trip is a kind of antidote to gas guzzling in the land of pickup trucks and enormous sport utility vehicles.
Rupert and Annette missed the smart car they had in Lewes when [they] move[d] to Canada four years ago. Therefore, when it was announced the smart was Canada bound – they purchased a hot, phat red coupé.
‘Starting from Toronto we crossed the US border in the town of Sarnia, located in the province of Ontario. We then drove through Michigan and Indiana to the start of Route 66 in Chicago, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. In the faded Chicago suburb of Cicero an old black fella pulled up alongside at a stoplight – “I like your car man” – our smart, an instant ice breaker.
Folks were intrigued and enchanted although some laughed at the car so hard they couldn’t speak. The message to them was that 50 miles a US gallon is possible and most people got it loud and clear.’
‘The “muffler men” are a feature on Route 66 – originally they held a muffler - hence the name - but have been adapted over the years. We took in the “Gemini Giant” spaceman in Wilmington, Illinois, and the “Lauterbach Giant” in Springfield, who now holds an American flag in front of Lauterbach’s Tyres.
‘We visited the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas - a truly spiritual experience. There are no opening hours, admission charge, concession stand or anything else - just a bunch of old Cadillacs nose down in a field.
‘At the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas, half way along Route 66, the lady owner rushed out to photograph our little chariot in front of her sign. We backtracked a short way and headed south on a straight, deserted country road on the high plains of the Texas Panhandle to Clovis, New Mexico, on the trail of Buddy Holly.
You need an appointment to visit the Norman Petty Recording Studios at 1313 W. 7th Street but the “just show up” philosophy worked as we were greeted by Ken Broad, who showed us round after lunch. We went down the street to the Foxy Drive-In, “where Buddy used to hang out.” It hasn’t changed a bit and Rupert and Annette snacked on a chicken burger waiting to get indoors at the studio.
‘The studio is in a time warp with all the original gear on display – and Rupert says that he freaked out as he listened to Buddy through the original sound system while sitting in the chair in the control room - all the hits were recorded here. Roy Orbison was here and the smash hit “Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, a New Mexico band, was recorded in this studio. What a blast they both say!
Adds Rupert: ‘We were mobbed everywhere. A lot of women think the car is cute. In Gallup, New Mexico, a Navajo woman was practically in tears because she wanted the car so badly. “We made common cause with the bikers who were hip to our minimalist approach and tended to come alongside at campsites.”
‘Endless freight trains, each with up to four diesel engines, pulling double-stacked container-cars. The train whistle is the signature tune of the tour coupled with the background music of American country radio.
Stopping in Winslow, Arizona for the usual photo shoot at the “corner” made famous in the Eagles’ song “Take it Easy” was fun and exciting.
Crossing the Continental Divide at 7,245ft, the Mojave Desert was driven in the daylight hours. The smart took everything thrown at it - hitting the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, California where Route 66, the “mother road”, runs out.
‘We covered 8,984 miles in 35 days, heading home via the Pacific Coast Highway and the Trans-Canada.’ they say.
‘Route 66 is everything it is cracked up to be and I could do it again tomorrow. I was in kitsch heaven with Americana run riot - old cars, motels, neon signs and gas-station memorabilia.’
Note: Rupert Lloyd Thomas has a blog at

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Smart car follows in footsteps of BMW's Isetta

Photo by ALT, Micronorth 2005, Orillia, ON

Thursday, December 1, 2005 Posted at 9:29 AM EST
Globe and Mail Update

Over the past year, tiny two-seat mini cars have been appearing on the streets of Canadian cities.
They've been welcomed as just the things needed to save the planet by some and as something of a novelty by others. But the Mercedes-Benz Smart car isn't the first of this type to be imported to Canada, or even the first from a German luxury car maker. That honour goes to the classic micro-machine of the 1950s: BMW's Isetta bubble car.
The egg-shaped Isetta was born in the aftermath of the Second World War when money, materials and fuel were scarce, one of a number of designs from makers such as Messerschmitt, Heinkel, Dornier, Gogomobile, Trojan and Scootacar.
But by the time the Isetta eventually arrived in North America in the late 1950s, it was a solution to a problem that simply didn't exist here. Although today, with transaction prices averaging $30,000, gas near enough a buck a litre and traffic in near gridlock, we can look back on the 1957 version advertised in Toronto newspapers with a degree of nostalgia.
Isetta Motors of Canada would sell you one of these minuscule motorcars for $1,098 ($366 down, $9 a week) and promised it would get 75 miles per gallon, or better than 4.0 L/100 km. It was just 2,283 mm long (or about 400 mm more than many modern vehicles are wide) and weighed 350 kg. Up front were wide-spaced, 10-inch diameter wheels, while the rears were just 518 mm apart.

Read full article here.

Note: Four wheeled Isettas imported to Canada were manufactured in Brighton, East
Sussex. Read more about Isettas here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

DaimlerChrysler near Smart car decision

DETROIT, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- By mid-2006 DaimlerChrysler AG will have decided whether to sell a line of ultra-small cars in the United States.
The next generation of the so-called Smart car's tiny Fortwo model has been engineered to meet all U.S. safety and environmental standards, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.
They go on sale in Europe in 2007, said a DaimlerChrysler spokesman.
In the next six months or so, he said, the company must determine if the tiny cars will be profitable in the United States.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Design and safety, Pininfarina Nido at the MoMa in New York

The Pininfarina concept car showed in an unusual exhibition of 300 contemporary products, designed to help us feeling safer
Turin, September 10, 2005. Like the Cisitalia, also Pininfarina Nido becomes part of the temple of the Modern Art in New York. From October 16 2005 to January 2 2006 the safety research prototype realized by Pininfarina will be among the protagonists of SAFE: Design Takes on Risk, the first major design exhibition at MoMA since its reopening in 2004.
SAFE redefines the design’s aim showing its potentialities to face problems of the XXI century. The exhibition presents more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances, to respond to emergencies, to provide a sense of comfort and security.
The combination of design and safety, in a convergence among aesthetics, functionality and technology, is well represented in Nido, presented in a world preview during the Paris Motor Show in 2004, winning the Most Beautiful Car of the Year award in the Prototype and Concept Car category. The Nido project is based on the development and prototyping of new solutions involving both the structure and the design of a small two-seater car with the objective of increasing levels of internal safety, involving directly the passengers transported, and the external one, designed to limit the damages to pedestrians in case of collision.
Nido is not the first Pininfarina’s creation to be showed in the famed New Yorker museum: in fact, in 1947, the Cisitalia 202 SC, designed by the Founder Battista “Pinin” Farina, was the first car in the world permanently displayed in the MoMA as “one of the eight wonders of our time”.

( Rear Wheel Drive, Rear engine transverse mounted like the smart)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Brabus Unveils Smart Concept At Essen Motor Show

Posted on November 25, 2005 at 7:30 PM CST

The Brabus smart car features, among other things, a 210 horsepower engine capable of producing speeds in upwards of 146 mph, a new differential lock for the transmission, and a racing brake system that completely fills the car's 17 inch rims.
But this is a concept people, so you know they had to take it a step further. In addition to the power enhancements, the Brabus smart forfour concept features a wealth of exterior enhancements, including roof wings in the rear and a new front spoiler to provide negative lift; aluminum-look paint work; and an aluminum underbody shield and rear diffuser.
OK I know what you're thinking: "Brabus is getting closer to a true concept vehicle, but what would push the smart over the top?" Like all true 210 horsepower go-karts, Brabus rounded off the forfour concept with a roll cage, five-point belt system, and to add a touch of class, Alcantara trim on the instrument panel and center console.

For full article and photos see source here.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Someone finally making a SMART move

Posted Nov 22, 2005, 9:30 AM ET by Erin Mays,

After an unsuccessful bid to buy MG Rover earlier this year, the David James-led consortium called Project Kimber is trying to buy the rights to the SMART Roadster and Roadster Coupe. DaimlerChrysler, parent company of Smart, has already announced that the two cars will be cut from the SMART lineup because the company can’t sell enough to turn a profit. Regardless of whether Project Kimber is successful in its bid, the Roadster and Roadster Coupe will go off the market this summer. But if Project Kimber gets what it wants, it can ramp production back up in 2007 — but not as a SMART Roadster. After undergoing a redesign by former Jaguar designer Keith Helfet, the vehicle would be sold under the AC name. Is that the same AC that’s currently building a manufacturing plant in Connecticut? Hmm…

See source.

Friday, November 25, 2005

World premiere at the Essen Motor Show 2005: BRABUS concept car development shows the potential of the smart forfour

Böblingen, 11/25/2005 - A smart forfour with racing seat belts and a roll cage is sure to pull the crowds to the smart-BRABUS stand in hall 11 at the Essen Motor Show (25 November until 4 December 2005). The concept car serves as a technology demonstrator and will be presented to the public for the first time in Essen.
Findings from the development of concept cars such as this are regularly incorporated into the series production. This does not mean that a racing version of the smart forfour is soon to be launched on the market, however it ensures that all features found in the production cars have been thoroughly tested and proven.
The smart forfour concept car has a turbo engine delivering approximately 154 kW (210 bhp). The maximum torque exceeds 300 Newton metres and the vehicle achieves a maximum speed of more than 235 kilometres per hour. For purposes of comparison: the extremely powerful engine of the smart forfour BRABUS has 130 kW (177 bhp) and torque of up to 230 Newton metres.
To ensure optimal conversion of the engine power to traction for a car with this engine output, the smart-BRABUS developers have fitted the transmission with a differential lock. The concept car furthermore has a racing brake system that is served by a new master brake cylinder and completely fills the 17 inch rims.

Read full article here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Smart in Talks to Revive Roadster

The Globe & Mail, Thursday, November 24, 2005
Reuters News Agency
DaimlerChrysler's Smart small car business is in advanced talks with six European companies interested in reviving Smart's cancelled roadster model, the Financial Times newspaper reported.
Smart pulled the plug in April on the two-seat roadster and cancelled a planned off-road model as part of its campaign to halt losses and break even by 2007.
Finding a partner for the roadster could generate some income for the business, the paper said.
The FT quoted spokesman Heinz Gottwick as saying the talks had reached a point where DaimlerChrysler would decide early next year on how to proceed.
He said Smart had been approached by "many, many" companies about licensing or buying the rights for the roadster.
One of the interested parties is the Project Kimber consortium that unsuccessfully bid for collapsed British car maker MG Rover, the paper said.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hybrid Technologies Inc. (OTC BB: HYBT) Announces Major Lithium Fleet Acquisition by Fortune 500 Giant

Hybrid and Kokam Ltd., Korea, Announce Partnership, 26 Billion Dollar Corporation's Newest Vehicles to Utilize Kokam Lithium Polymer Batteries

November 18, 2005 - Hybrid Technologies, Inc. (OTC BB: HYBT) is pleased to announce that pursuant to executive meetings with one of America's largest and most profitable corporations a large acquisition for Hybrid Lithium vehicles has been approved.

The vehicles will be part of a major fleet retro fit as corporate America is given directives to adapt fleets to convey "green policies" as well as to comply with federal mandates. The latest purchase involves a major marketing campaign; therefore, Hybrid Technologies will release a further press release outlining their latest corporate partnership.

As part of Hybrid's ongoing corporate fleet sales and marketing initiatives, the 26 billion dollar corporation has agreed to purchase and take delivery of the highly acclaimed Lithium Mini Cooper model as well as the Daimler Chrysler Smart Car Lithium version. The vehicles will be part of the corporation's rapidly expanding Hybrid fleet as part of the multi national corporation's commitment to "green philosophy" as well as its well known philosophy of working with the latest in American technology.

In related news the Chairman of Kokam Corporation, one of the leading Lithium battery suppliers in the world, as well as senior executives from the Korean based battery magnate executed a partnership in Los Angeles, California. The latest Kokam battery packs will be utilized in the corporate vehicles as part of the joint venture and technology partnership. Kokam will be sending senior engineers from Korea to Hybrid's development facility and plant in North Carolina to develop and implement the latest Lithium system into the Lithium vehicles.

Holly Roseberry, President of Hybrid Technologies, stated, "The combination of this major acquisition and our new partnership with Kokam batteries insures that the latest and most advanced technology will be implemented into these vehicles. We are very proud to be working with an American corporate giant and feel that their advanced philosophy matches perfectly with Hybrid's governing principle, which is technology today for a better tomorrow."

Kokam Chairman and founder J.J. Hong stated, "We are very impressed by Hybrid's impressive growth and believe that their clients such as fortune 500 companies, automobile manufacturers and governments bring them into the forefront of the hybrid vehicle market. Hybrid Technologies is paving the way for corporations such as ours to highlight the latest in advanced Lithium technology. We see this as a long and highly profitable relationship and we will support Hybrid 100% in all their endeavors."

The vehicles are scheduled for delivery by Q1 2006.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Zap! Takes Smart to San Francisco Auto Show

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 1, 2005) – According to a recent GAO study, consumers will spend about $350 more on gas in 2005 than they did in 2004. California, a state that annually ranks at or near the top in the price of a gallon of gas, lead the nation in hybrid vehicle purchases last year, snapping up 25,021 cars, with 8,051 purchased in San Francisco alone. Nationwide, all of the 152,600 hybrids on the market in 2005 are expected to sell, saving 22,576,900 gallons of fuel in 2006.

Also included in this year's show will be a display of gas-saving, hydrogen-electric hybrid, dual-fuel cars and scooters produced by ZAP (Zero Air Pollution). ZAP is a leader in advanced transportation technologies and energy products since 1994, delivering more than 90,000 vehicles to 75 countries.


See also The Epoch Times.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Globe & Mail, 13 October, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mercedes-Benz is the Global Leader for Diesel Models Equipped with Particulate Filters as Standard; smart cdi Models to be Included From 2006

The 20 Mercedes models with particulate filters as standard are now available to order. Until all of the diesel passenger cars are fitted with particulate filters as standard this summer, as announced at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, an optional system is being made available in an additional 15 diesel models alongside these 20 CDI models. The environmental initiative will be continued in the near future. “Mercedes-Benz is already the world leader when it comes to the number of models with standard-equipment diesel particulate filters,” says Dr. Eckhard Cordes, head of the Mercedes Car Group. “We’ll be doubling this number in the summer, which means we’ll be soon be offering 40 different vehicles with these filters. Of course the smart brand is included here as well. From spring 2006 we’ll be equipping the smart forfour cdi and the next-generation smart fortwo cdi with diesel particulate filters as standard.”

With this offering, Mercedes-Benz, which invented the passenger car diesel (1935) and the particulate filter (1985), is once again demonstrating its pioneering role in the development of environment-friendly passenger cars. Even without a diesel particulate filter, all new Mercedes-Benz CDI models already comply with the stringent EU4 emissions standard. Customers will also reap long-term benefits from the standard-equipment filter system, as the resale value of cars equipped with this innovative technology is expected to be higher than that of comparable vehicles not fitted with diesel particulate filters.

See source here.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Is Smart for Sale?

Posted Nov 17, 2005, 5:30 PM ET by Stuart Waterman

DaimlerChrysler on Thursday dismissed rumors that chairman-designate Dieter Zetsche is considering the sale of its money-losing Smart business.

Markets apparently liked the rumor, sending shares up 2 percent on a report by German publication Manager Magazin (translation here) that Zetsche would consider selling all or part of the Smart brand. The rumor is credited to “executive committee” sources.

According to Reuters, DaimlerChrysler is sticking to its official story that it supports Smart management’s plan to reach break-even by 2007, despite widespread skepticism outside the company.

The really interesting question is, if Smart’s for sale, who would buy it?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Welcome to the Hotel California

Smart on the corner in Winslow, Arizona

The Eagles now on tour:

November 16, 2005 Wednesday, Cox Arena, San Diego, CA
November 17, 2005 Thursday, Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, CA
November 19, 2005 Saturday, Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
November 20, 2005 Sunday, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Indian Wells, CA
November 21, 2005 Monday, Indian Wells Country Club, Indian Wells, CA

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Mitsubishi to make Fortwo engines

The Smart Fortwo's three-cylinder engines will in future be made by Mitsubishi in Japan, despite the recent decision by Smart's parent company Mercedes-Benz to sell its Mitsu shareholding. The engine will be shared with the Mitsubishi iCar, shown recently in Tokyo and destined for the UK. The Mitsubishi's engine and the current Smart unit are related; they have identical bore centres.

Source: Autocar, 8 November 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mitsubishi gets smart

Mitsubishi iCar Hatchback 0.6 5dr
Test Date 10/11/2005 09:00:00
Price when new TBA

MEET WHAT COULD become one of Britain’s funkiest city cars.

The all-new Mitsubishi iCar is just going on sale in Japan. And depending on British reaction, there’s a fair chance that it could be coming over here as well, slotting beneath the Colt in the model line-up.
It’s certainly different. With a rear-mounted three-cylinder turbocharged engine stowed under the boot floor and a standard-fit, four-speed auto ’box driving the rear wheels, it’s closest in concept to the Smart ForTwo – although with room for four.
The exterior dimensions are impressively compact – it’s a full eight inches shorter than a Ford Ka. But the engine’s location makes for decent cabin space – with plenty of leg and headroom in the front, and acceptable levels aft, too.

Mike Duff

Read full article here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Britain likely to get Mitsubishi iCar first

Britain looks like being the first market in Europe to get Mitsubishi's iCar. Company bosses are keen to launch the car in Europe, and are encouraging UK boss Jim Tyrrell to take 1000 units next year.
Tyrrell is enthusiastic, but wants to take soundings among dealers before he commits. But he believes it could sell at around £ 8995 with a high spec likely to include air-con, cntral locking and maybe even four-wheel drive as an alternative to the standard rear-drive.
The engine, a three-cylinder, inter-cooled and turbocharaged 600cc unit with 63bhp, is so compact that it fits under the rear seat. At the Tokyo motor show the car was viewed as 'The Smart ForFour that should have been', and the front end features some Smart-like styling. The cabin and boot are big enough for families.
There is no word yet on a name for the car in production, but insiders say it'll probably havae a tag more substantial than 'i'.

Source: Autocar, 8 November, 2005

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Daimler closes out its Mitsubishi venture

Sells its remaining 12.4% stake in Japanese carmaker

By Richard Milne and David Ibison

FRANKFURT - Daimler-Chrysler AG yesterday sold its remaining 12.4% stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp., bringing to an end its efforts to create a global automotive empire and closing the book on a disastrous five-year attempt to turn the unprofitable Japanese carmaker.
The sale marks one of the last acts under Jurgen Schrempp, outgoing Daimler chief executive, whose plan to create a worldwide car company has floundered after a series of mishaps.
But it removes one strategic problem from the list confronting his successor Dieter Zetsche, the current head of Mercedes who will take control of Daimler in January.
MMC is now mainly owned by companies under the Mitsubishi umbrella: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corp. and MUFG, the group's bank.

Source: The National Post, Nov 12, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Positive Sales Development Continues

- Mercedes-Benz sales up by five percent in October; increase of customer deliveries through October
- 37,000 B-Class vehicles already delivered in Western Europe
- smart performs well in difficult subcompact segment: Sales up by three percent after ten months

Stuttgart, Germany, November 08, 2005

smart sales climb three percent through October
Sales of smart vehicles increased by three percent through October, reaching a total of 117,000 units. Customer deliveries totaled 12,300 models in October. As a result, the brand retained its market share despite the continued unfavorable situation in the segment for subcompact cars and roadsters.
smart is developing well in Italy, where demand is now also increasing for the smart forfour following the tremendous success of the smart fortwo. In Germany, however, the ongoing competitive pressure in the subcompact segment is having a negative impact on sales of smart vehicles. A nationwide campaign that allows customers to refuel free of charge for a year is designed to generate additional demand in the coming months.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

ZAP Announces Smart Car Receives Certificate of Conformity for 2006 from EPA

SANTA ROSA, California (November 8, 2005) - Transportation pioneer ZAP (PCX:ZP) announced today that the Smart Car has received a Certificate of Conformity from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the 2006 Certification Year.

The Certificate of Conformity was issued for the Smart Pure, Pulse and Passion tested during the 2005 calendar year and expires on December 31, 2006.

"Despite our lawsuit addressing the anti-competitive tactics of DaimlerChrysler, ZAP is still moving forward to introduce the Smart Car to the U.S. public," said ZAP Chief Executive Officer Steve Schneider. "The EPA's recent certification authorizes the process to move forward with this year's models, to be procured from suppliers for ZAP's distribution network."

The Smart Car is the stylish, fuel-efficient micro-car from Europe, one of the only available in the country at a time of record gas prices. ZAP is preparing to distribute the cars along with other models through a dealer network it is forming in the U.S. that specializes in advanced automotive technologies.

Source: ZAP!

Monday, November 07, 2005

ZAP Files Legal Action Against DaimlerChrysler and Affiliated Companies

ZAP's Suit Relates to Converting and Marketing Daimler's ''Smart Car'' in the U.S.
SANTA ROSA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2005--Transportation pioneer ZAP (PCX:ZP) announced today that the Company will be proceeding with legal action against DaimlerChrysler (NYSE:DCX - News) and affiliated companies and individuals, serving a complaint that seeks in excess of $500 million in redress for a more than year-long campaign of misconduct perpetrated against ZAP by Daimler and Ulrich Walker, the then-CEO of its subsidiary Smart gmbh.

ZAP's complaint, filed on October 28, 2005 in the Los Angeles Superior Court, details a series of anti-competitive tactics, aimed at defaming ZAP and disrupting its third-party business relationships.

As alleged in the complaint, rather than share or promote ZAP's success in converting and marketing Daimler's high fuel-efficiency "Smart Car" in the U.S., Daimler sought to destroy ZAP; to capture its market share; and to discredit ZAP in the eyes of investors, regulators, journalists, suppliers, buyers, other third-parties, and the American public generally. As further alleged in the complaint, Daimler's misconduct was undertaken with the intention of stealing and profiting from ZAP's marketing plans, technologies, business relationships and know how.

ZAP's counsel, Eric M. George of Browne Woods & George LLP, based in Beverly Hills, California, stated:

"Not only has Daimler trampled on the rights of its progressive competitor, it has done so without conscience. Daimler's misconduct has made the American public the loser. With oil prices at an all-time high, and growing consciousness in the country about alternative-fuel transportation, America is ready to seize on the historic opportunities that ZAP is making available to the public."

ZAP anticipates proceeding to trial in this matter before the close of the year 2006.

Source: Zap!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

DaimlerChrysler announces second international contest for teenagers

Windsor, Ontario – DaimlerChrysler and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are inviting students between the ages of 14 and 18 to participate in a global initiative, which aims to encourage dialogue among young people from different cultures.

In the Mondialogo School Contest, participating schools are matched with a partner team from another country. Teams agree on a joint project and then work together to create a shared result, reflecting intercultural dialogue and cooperation. Creative projects could include music, plays, collages, photo documentaries, sculptures and Web pages.

A highlight of the contest includes selected students and teachers being invited to Mexico in November 2006 for the international Mondialogo Symposium. Some 25,000 students from 126 countries took part in the first 2003/2004 contest. Students have until November 15, 2005 to register; information is available at


Friday, November 04, 2005

Smart directions for green ideas

Electro-car public transport and a scheme to track the proper disposal of waste are two of smartest ideas for using satellite-navigation technology

The applications have just triumphed in an international competition seeking novel ways to employ Galileo, Europe's soon-to-launch sat-nav system.
The multi-billion-euro space venture will transform the quality of location and timing data available on Earth.
And entrepreneurs are being urged to develop innovative ways to exploit it.
The transport application devised by the Vu Log company in Sophia Antipolis, France, envisages a fleet of "green" vehicles on city roads.
Each electrically powered mini-car would be equipped with instant and highly precise positioning equipment.
Commuters could use the internet or their mobile phone to find the nearest vehicle, jump in and start it with a smartcard, and then drive it to their destination.
"There would be no constraint - you could leave the car where you wanted," explained Vu Log's George Gallais.
"The service provider would come and charge the cars up every two or three days. Being used just for short distances, they wouldn't need charging every day," he told the BBC News website.

Source: BBC News, Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Clouseau Gets Smart

The Pink Panther, directed by Shawn Levy,is currently in production and is scheduled to be released on February 10,2006. The film features Steve Martin as bumbling detective Inspector Clouseau, Kevin Kline as Chief Inspector Dreyfus, Beyonce Knowles as Xania and a smart fortwo. It is billed as a prequel to the 1963 Blake Edwards film starring Peter Sellers in which Clouseau must solve the murder of a famous soccer coach and find out who stole the Pink Panther diamond.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Route 66: Carthage, Missouri

The Carthage Drive-in Theatre had its Formal Opening on September 22, 1949. It eventually became a salvage yard and was resurrected as a theatre and reopened April 18, 1998. Find out more on the official website.

Mitsubishi Motors and smart sign agreement on engine supply

Boeblingen, 11/02/2005 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and smart gmbh have signed an agreement on engine supply. MMC will supply an engine of the same type as the turbo-charged engine to be used in i, MMC’s new concept minicar due for launch in January 2006.
The engine will be further developed for use in smart’s fortwo successor model. After the launch of the current smart fortwo in October 1998, its successor will be available from 2007 onwards.
MMC and DaimlerChrysler have been cooperating on various win-win projects in recent years and further ones are constantly in discussion. They generate substantial synergy effects for all partners and this engine supply agreement is another part of this cooperative relationship.
The engines to be supplied are the natural aspirated and turbo-charged engines based on the engine developed for i and will be produced at MMC’s powertrain production facility in Mizushima, Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Together with the engine production for i MMC will be able to realize economies of scale through this agreement, thus lowering costs on a per-unit basis

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Have smart, Will Travel: Part 2

The Toronto Sun, Saturday October 29, 2005
By Rich Helms

Since getting my Smart car on Jan 15, 2005, I have visited 13 states and logged 30,000 km, including trips to Cleveland, Ohio; Long Island, N.Y.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Bentonville, Ark. This mileage over the course of nine months may not seem like a lot to people who commute to Toronto from the suburbs, but I live only minutes from my office.

My first trip was to Cleveland, Ohio. It was a nice day and I had the top down. The plan was to meet a business associate at a particular coffee shop. As I pulled in, a woman in a Ford Excursion did a U-turn on a one-way street, nearly causing an accident, in order to see my car. After parking, she ran over and called out, "Where did you get it? I have a poster of this car on my wall. I want one for when I don't need the Excursion." I almost laughed out loud thinking, when does anyone "need" an Excursion? She brushed her hand across the hood of my car, exclaiming that she had now touched one.

Read full article here.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Coast to Coast in a Smart Fortwo

It was during an editorial meeting at Le Guide de l'Auto that this idea was selected out of many other proposals. It was January 2005, and we would have never dreamt that such a fuel crisis would touch the world a few months later. Our goal was to simply show that a micro car such as the smart could travel from sea to shining sea in a normal time frame, using less than $300 worth of fuel, as claimed by the vehicle manufacturer.

Mercedes-Benz Canada, the importer and distributor of smart in Canada, provided us with a vehicle. And don't think that this car was specially modified for us. Due to a logistical error, the original vehicle was unavailable and we were provided with a replacement vehicle at the last minute.

To read about this cross-Canada tour go here.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Long distance smarts

Keith Hebert of Abbotsford, BC, & Rupert Lloyd Thomas at Haugen's Classic Car Cruise-in, near Port Perry, ON.

Have Smart,will Travel

Exerpt from The Toronto Sun, Saturday October 29, 2005
By Rich Helms
Everyone knows the Smart car is an urban car designed for scooting around the city---well, everyone except those of us who do long-distance trips in our Smarts. Why not take a conventional car? I guess for the same reason people travel on motorcyles. My Smart is a green-on-green Pulse Cabrio--a unique car calls for an outrageous colour scheme. One result of this look is that the car never fails to bring a smile to your face.
My new heroes are Keith Hebert (, who drove Victoria to St. John's and back (16,344 km averaging 3.63 L/100km, or 78mpg); and Rupert Lloyd-Thomas and his wife Annette, who did Toronto to Chicago, followed route 66 to California, up to B.C. and back to Toronto(14,500 km) (
Since getting my Smart car on January 15, 2005, I have visited 13 states and logged 30,000 km, including trips to Cleveland, Ohio: Long Island, N.Y.; Raleigh, N.C.; Bentonville, Ark. This mileage over the course of nine months may not sem like a lot to people who commute to Toronto from the suburbs, but I live only minutes from my office.

My favourite comeback for the negative comments about the car was in Long Island, N.Y., when gas was $3.50 to $4 a gallon. I was stopped at a light, and had the top down. A man pulled up beside me in a large older car, laughed out loud and in a booming voice proclaimed, "That is the stupidest car I have ever seen." I turned and asked him if he had filled up with gas that day. "Yep, $70 worth," he answered. I replied, " I filled up, too. Cost me $12. Whose car's stupid now?"

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hemi smart

Hemi (from "hemisphere") is a design of internal-combustion engines in which the cylinder head's combustion chamber is of hemispherical form. The term, "Hemi engine", is a trademark of Chrysler Corporation, though the concept is used by many manufacturers.

The chamber design puts the intake/exhaust valves in-line, rather than side-by-side, allowing for better flow of air through the head. The spark plug in the center of the chamber makes for better ignition of the fuel/air mixture. These aspects help make the hemi-type engine more efficient and powerful.


See the official Daimler Chrysler's Hemi site here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

smart fortwo cabriolet travels 6,587 km from Victoria to Halifax on $268 of diesel fuel

(October 26, 2005)

Toronto -- Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz Canada was approached by a Montreal editor representing an automotive publication with the idea of driving a smart fortwo across the country. While this had already been achieved by Transport Canada when they were doing long-term testing on the smart before the car was certified, it had never been done by a third party non-biased publication. Mercedes-Benz Canada liked the concept and agreed to provide them the car for the cross-country trek.

The publication in question was “Le Guide de l’Auto” and their proposed story outline was to prove that the smart fortwo could travel coast-to-coast across more than 6,500 kilometres on less than $300 of fuel. Editor Denis Duquet assigned driver Guy Desjardins and his co-pilot and navigator Lucienne Chénard to undertake this crossing. They embarked on their ten-day journey in Victoria. The smart cabriolet was a standard production vehicle and was in no way specially modified for this trip.

Read more here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

In an accident, the smart fortwo's solid construction provides structural integrity, but it is the many passive safety features that truly protect the passengers.

Dual front and side air bags.
All models are equipped with standardfull-size front air bags. In addition, the fortwo, unlike many of its competitors, comes standard with side air bags for enhanced protection from side impactIn an accident, the smart fortwo's solid construction provides structural integrity, but it is the many passive safety features that truly protect the passengers.

Internal safety distance.

Even with the smart fortwo's compact design, the driver and passenger sit well back in the vehicle, distanced from the effects of a front impact.
Collapsible steering column.
In the event of a serious front-end collision, the steering column will retract telescopically out of harm’s way.

Read about the fortwo's passive and active safety features on there official Canadian website here.

Life-saving innovation celebrates milestone anniversary: airbag first introduced as standard at Mercedes-Benz 25 years ago

Stuttgart, 10/27/2005 - It is now 25 years since the first production car to be fitted with an airbag, an S-Class Saloon, rolled off the production line at Mercedes Benz in Sindelfingen – the culmination of over 13 years of development work and the beginning of a new era in vehicle safety. According to accident research, the airbag has saved over 14,200 human lives in the USA to date; in Germany, meanwhile, the airbag has prevented over 2,500 fatal injuries to car occupants since 1990. Mercedes-Benz offered the airbag long before any other car manufacturer and has so far equipped more than twelve million vehicles with this safety innovation. It has been fitted as standard in all passenger cars displaying the Mercedes star since October 1992. In recent years, Mercedes engineers have continued to develop airbag technology, for example by introducing side airbags and systems that adapt in line with the severity of the accident. Airbags are also set to become an integral part of the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system, equipped with new, anticipatory sensors which will enable them to deploy in advance of a possible accident so as to reduce the forces exerted on the car occupants both before and during any impact. For the same reasons, the airbags of the future will also take into account individual parameters such as the body size, sex and age of the occupants.
Read more here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Smart Car, dumb driver:Red-faced Ralph blows through 'pink' light

The Edmonton Sun October 20, 2005
Alberta's premier took a turn driving an energy-conserving Smart Car yesterday, but apparently the car isn't smart enough to stop at red lights.
Ralph Klein, who was driving the $16,000 Mercedes-built automobile with Environment Minister Guy Boutilier as his passenger, admitted that he inadvertently zoomed through a light on his way from Government House to the Legislature.
"Unfortunately I was so enthralled with the car that I went through a pink light - you know, that sort of yellow and red?" he explained.
Two Sun photographers witnessed Klein's traffic faux pas. David Bloom and Preston Brownschlaigle were following Klein and Boutilier east along Jasper Avenue, when the politicians had to stop behind a car that was parallel parking.
The photographers continued past and stopped for a red light at 116 Street.
"I turned around in the seat to shoot back on an approaching Klein," said Brownschlaigle. "The light changed to red and as I was waiting for the Smart Car to arrive next to us and take a picture, Klein blew past us through the red light."
Klein said the intersection was equipped with a red-light enforcement camera "so I might be getting a ticket, who knows? Or Guy will, anyway."
In fact, the red-light camera was positioned to catch southbound vehicles running the light.
Boutilier defended the premier's driving, telling the Sun photographers that Klein was having a little trouble getting used to the unique gear shift which switches back and forth between automatic and standard.
Read full article here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

smart celebrates its first anniversary in Canada with 4,000 sales

October 20, 2005
TORONTO -- In February 2004, Mercedes-Benz Canada announced at the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) that it would start selling two smart models in Canada by the end of the year. In early October 2004, smart was launched in Canada. A year later, in October 2005, more than 4,000 smart fortwo coupés and cabriolets have been delivered across the country. This amount is more than three times the initial planned volume.
President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, Marcus Breitschwerdt said, “smart took the world by storm in 1998 when it was first introduced in Europe. Over the course of the next few years, the smart models caused a sensation everywhere they were launched after that. North America was the last frontier and Mercedes-Benz Canada stepped up to the challenge last year. Our astonishing success proves without any doubt that our insights were accurate but more importantly, it confirms that the Canadian market was indeed more than ready for this type of intelligent and revolutionary mobility.”
He further added, “The smart fortwo is cool and Canadians really like it. It’s interesting to note that smart has, in the last year, outsold several longer established vehicles in varied categories.”

Read the full article here.


Third-year studio architecture students presented their proposed dealership building designs to a representative of ZAP, a California company that modifies the high-mileage, environmentally-friendly European import for use in the U.S. Many students, faculty, and staff showed their interest and support by gathering at Crown Hall, October 19, to view the projects and an actual SMART car.

Although a wide array of approaches were considered, many student proposals incorporated sustainable design into ZAP’s business plan to create a technologically-advanced transportation dealership.

“This is an exciting opportunity; it’s not often that students get the chance to present their work for the consideration of corporate executives,” said Studio Professor Tom Brock.

ZAP, which produces its own zero pollution-emitting vehicles, has exclusive rights to import and modify the SMART Car for American road use and will be considering the student designs for their first North American dealership.

“We’re grateful that Tom Brock has chosen this exercise for his students,” said Alex Campbell, ZAP’s director of marketing. “Not only do they learn about future transportation, but they are helping our pioneering efforts in this area.”

Currently, only 10 SMART Cars are on North American roads; one, driven by Rupert Lloyd-Thomas from his home in Toronto, was at Crown Hall while the student projects were being reviewed.

(Note: What continent do they think Canada is in? Or do they mean to say American roads? )

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tiny tires time

Parking spots just for Smart cars? Are half-price car washes next?

October 06, 2005
The subcompact city of Duncan, B.C. is home to "the world's largest hockey stick" -- and 12 of the world's smallest parking spaces. The hockey stick -- 62.48 m long -- dominates an entire wall of the local community centre. You'd think a city of almost 5,000, blessed with such an outsized piece of lumber, would have nothing else to prove, but Duncan is a forward-looking place. It has seen the future, and it is the Smart car -- an automobile so abbreviated it would take 25 of them lined bumper-to-bumper just to carry the world's longest hockey stick. In early September, the Smart car inspired Duncan to create what may be Canada's first mini parking spaces. They are three metres long, just big enough for a Smart or transportation device of similar size -- motorcycles, scooters, or maybe a pair of those boat-sized running shoes worn by teenage boys.

Other municipalities, including Vancouver and Victoria, may follow Duncan's lead. Smart car owners may roll lightly upon the Earth, but they are an assertive lot. As if filling up for under $20 isn't reward enough, they're rearing up on their tiny tires to claim that their diminutive 2.5-metre-long vehicles warrant cheaper parking and discount ferry rates. B.C. Ferries is studying the idea, with muted enthusiasm. What's next, half price at the car wash?

Complete article here.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

smart smiles

Many people have commented that the smartcar looks like it's smiling.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Small Wasn't Smart

The minute commuter car has turned out to be an oversize drain on profits
Posted Sunday, Oct. 09, 2005
It seemed like an extremely clever idea at the time: a stylish two-seater commuter car that would be ideal for city traffic, small enough to fit in the tiniest of parking spots and highly fuel efficient. It seems like an even better idea now. But 11 years after Mercedes dreamed up the idea with Nicholas Hayek, the creator of Swatch watches, the minute Smart car has become an oversize drain on the automaker's profits. In the first six months of this year, Mercedes plunged into the red because of a massive $1.3 billion restructuring charge it took for its Smart operations.

Smart's woes are typical of the troubles afflicting the entire Mercedes group. The car's manufacturing costs are far too high, especially given its relatively small scale--last year the company sold just 150,000 of them. Smart's managers were overly ambitious in developing new models too quickly, according to company officials and analysts. Hayek long ago dropped out. But even before the original model he helped to inspire had established itself, Smart moved on to new territory: the model range was extended to a four-seater, a roadster and a planned SUV.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Trudi Takes Chicago

Architecture students at IIT are really taken with the smartcar. They ask a lot of questions and take a lot of photos. The project presentations undergo rigorous scrutiny.
"After a long day at the college demonstrating the car we manage a quick dinner at Heaven on Seven, a Cajun Restaurant in town. Alex Campbell heads for O'Hare Airport and a late flight back to California. I'm up at 05:10 and wheels turning at 06:00 - quite like old times - a quick pitstop at the BP garage on Roosevelt and I'm heading through the south side of Chicago in the dark. I busk my way to Gary, Indiana on Highway 20 and eventually join I-94 east, then I-69. I detour off the road to Olivet, Michigan where I take a late breakfast at the Main Street cafe. The friendly locals are intrigued by the smart car. When I ask the address of the cafe nobody knows - "it is the only one in town." If you are going to Olivet it is at 110 North Main.
Back on the highway and I'm nearly suckered into an accident by a lady in a black Chevy Impala who is photographing the smart while driving. I reach Port Huron but miss the turning for Canada as the sign is obscured by roadworks. I have visions of being stuck in Michigan for good. Back across the border and a last gas stop at Zehrs in Strathroy, Ontario - I'm struggling in the Toronto rush hour traffic and glad to be back at 17:30."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

IIT College of Architecture Students Designing Proposed 1st US Dealership for Fuel Efficient, Environmentally-Friendly SMART Car

Chicago, Oct 17, 2005 — Chicago, October 17, 2005—Students at Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) College of Architecture will be presenting their proposed dealership building designs to a representative of ZAP, a California company that modifies the high-mileage, environmentally friendly European import for use in the U.S. The third-year studio architecture students will present their designs at S.R. Crown Hall, 3360 S. State Street on Wednesday, October 19, noon to 6:00 pm.

Although a wide array of approaches are being considered, many student proposals will incorporate sustainable design into ZAP’s business plan to create a technologically-advanced transportation dealership.

"This is an exciting opportunity; it’s not often that students get the chance to present their work for the consideration of corporate executives," said Studio Professor Tom Brock.

ZAP, which produces its own zero pollution-emitting vehicles, has exclusive rights to import and modify the SMART Car for American road use and will be considering the student designs for their first North American dealership.

"We’re grateful that Tom Brock has chosen this exercise for his students," said Alex Campbell ZAP’s

Director of Marketing. "Not only do they learn about future transportation, but they are helping our pioneering efforts in this area."

Currently, only 10 SMART Cars are on North American roads; one, driven by Rupert Lloyd-Thomas from his home in Toronto, will be at Crown Hall when the student projects are being reviewed.

Valet Parking Attendants Go Crazy

Report from RLT at Essex Inn, Chicago:
"I really got here around 15:15 - I had forgotten to deduct an hour for the time change. Blazing hot in the car - 72F. I spent two hours detailing the car - the guys at the valet parking are going crazy over the smart - fetching water, shop towels, windolene etc. Short rest then dinner at the Arthouse Cafe with Tom Brock - he is a very interesting guy - great conversation.
Car will be on display outside school of architecture tomorrow - big wigs and press in attendance. Will report later."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Early Start to Road Trip

Architect Tom Brock, from the Illinois Institute of Technology, phoned yesterday to confirm plans for Wednesday's event. Last night we got organized and packed ready for the early departure.
At 5:45 this morning, Rupert drove Trudi out of our underground parking garage heading for the 401. He will take the highway to Sarnia and cross the border into Port Huron, Michigan and with any luck roll into Chicago by dinnertime covering a distance of approximately 450 miles or 700 km.
It is not our smartcar's first visit to Chicago this year. We started our Route 66 Odyssey on Sunday, July 10th at Michigan and Adams. Read about it here.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ready for the Windy City

Trudi is going to Chicago this week following an invitation from the Illinois Institute of Technology to show our smartcar to their Architecture class. They have been doing a project on "the car dealership of the future" and are inspired by the smartcar. Thanks to Alex Campbell of ZAP in Santa Rosa, California for putting this together.
To get Trudi in show condition we took her out to the Wash N'Go self-serve carwash at 4000 Dundas Street West. We gave her a thorough cleaning inside and out. Several people asked questions about the car including one gentlemen who very politely asked if he could see the engine. Edward Garcia, our sales representative at the Mississauga showroom, recommended Mothers California Gold Showtime Instant Detailer and we have had great results. On the tires, we used Meguiar's Hot Shine Tire Spray. It works well on rubber floor mats too!
You can improve your fuel economy for 25 cents by inflating your tires to the manufacturer's spec twice a month. You will achieve better mileage with the tires pumped up a little higher than the recommended psi.
Trudi is no trailer queen and already has ten thousand hard miles under her wheels. Naturally she will be driven to Chicago on Tuesday in time for the gig on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Smart park nets $57 ticket

Owner of micro car says he’ll fight his case in court; bylaw official says officers have had Smart car complaints
By Kyle Marr
Banff Crag & Canyon staff
Tuesday October 11, 2005

Last week McDonald, a Banffite, parked his 2005 Mercedes Benz Smart car perpendicular to the curb rather than parallel to it, its uniquely compact shape jutting into the road only slightly more than the average car parked normally.
McDonald got a $57 ticket for the unique park job, something he said is unfair and is preparing to fight in court.
“And I’m going to plead not guilty because I don’t think I was improperly parked,” said McDonald, an executive producer at Tracker Productions who uses the car as a work vehicle.
“We just wanted to have a more environmentally friendly way to get out and do the work we have to do. Whenever we are videotaping we try to have as little impact as we can on the environment. This is kind of an extension of our philosophy,” he said.

Read complete article here.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

smart Debuts Winter Accessories

Posted on October 11, 2005 at 9:30 AM CST
"If you're like me and live anywhere up north, you've probably noticed the temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and people are starting to bundle up a little more. All of this can only mean one thing - winter is coming.
And as all you smart car owners lay awake at night, contemplating the impending winter doom, I'm sure there's only one question going through your head: "What would be the perfect winter accessory to compliment my little smart?"
Have no fear, oh smart ones, because the smart-store has you covered, literally, this winter.
According to the press release, smart is set to debut their new winter accessory line. A couple highlights include an elegant road slipover, complete with a special windproof lining, as well as a stylish long road jacket, featuring a satin look with plenty of room underneath for a suit or blazer.
OK, so maybe smart clothing isn't your thing - what about a smart nutcracker, in the shape of a smart fortwo? According to smart, the nutcracker features the outline of a smart fortwo as well as the tridion safety cell, and will, I'm not making this up, "...crack even the toughest nut."
Are you getting excited yet? If so, all of the above mentioned products are available at the smart-store. If you visit their store, they do have a few items that no smart owner should be without, such as the smart and crossbones t-shirt, and of course, the silver "assless" chaps pictured [above]."

Read Smart's full press release here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Winter Driving

Now that the chill of autumn has arrived, many people ask what driving the smartcar is like in the winter. Although we've only had Trudi since May this year, we do have some experience to share.
Our first smartcar lived in the UK and was driven all year there but the winters in Sussex don't really compare to being in the snowbelt. Last February smart Canada hosted a winter drive event in conjunction with the Toronto Auto Show at Ontario Place, Toronto. On Thursday February 24 we test drove a smart cabriolet. The closed course was set out on ice and snow and the car handled well in the tricky conditions. smart Canada had contracted the event out to a driving instruction firm whose staff were pleasant and knowledgeable.
smart Canada has posted detailed technical information about winter driving including video shot at the winter drive event which can be seen here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Driving you round the Benz

Mercedes was once a byword for quality, and its customers the most loyal. Then it all went wrong. But the only way is up for its new chairman says Gavin Green

Published: 11 October 2005, The Independent

"Schrempp's chairmanship saw much action, but few achievements. He oversaw a lot more than Mercedes slipping from the best quality in the world to near the bottom - as if that wasn't unforgivable enough. He also engineered Mercedes-Benz's disastrous takeover of US mass maker Chrysler in 1998 - which has seen the company's share price fall by almost half. He oversaw an expensive and disastrous alliance with Mitsubishi that floundered just as rival Renault was making a huge success of its Japanese partner, Nissan. The Smart small car business has been a financial catastrophe (although I'm fond of the cars) - overall losses are reckoned at more than £2bn. And the Maybach luxury car brand has been a disaster: sales are a fraction of those anticipated.

So the only way to go, for new boss Dieter Zetsche - moustachioed former head of the Chrysler division, who takes over as chairman on January 1 - is up.

Schrempp's legacy is clearly a large one, but, to loyal customers (and no customers were more loyal than Benz's), the biggest catastrophe of all was Mercedes-Benz's fall into the quality gutter. Mercedes had built the finest cars in the world for probably 40 years, maybe longer. Benz had invented the car. Nobody made tasteful, beautifully wrought, elegantly designed cars as well as Mercedes-Benz."

Read full smarticle here.