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, www.autoblog.com

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.

Source: http://www.hybridtechnologies.com/media.php

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.

Source: http://www.sfautoshow.com

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?

Source: www.autoblog.com
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 www.mondialogo.org.

Source: www.canadiandriver.com

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.