Wednesday, May 31, 2006

South African Smart Billboard Stirs Controversy

Source - NeanderNews : "news & politics ... raw and unrefined"

Read how an , "army of Davids takes on 'Smart Car' and wins!".

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ZAP Ships 200th Smart Car

SANTA ROSA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 30, 2006--Automotive pioneer ZAP (NYSE Arca:ZP) announced today that it has shipped its 200th Smart Car Americanized for ZAP, according to CEO Steve Schneider.
The Smart Car is featured in an opening chase-scene in The Da Vinci Code now playing in theaters around the world. ZAP is now delivering Smart Cars to its authorized dealers across the USA. The Smart Car is the most fuel-efficient all-gas turbo in the country at 40 MPG and the only micro-car available at a time of record gas prices. The Smart Car has received the regulatory approval through its registered importers to allow for distribution in the USA by ZAP.
ZAP is commencing auto sales through authorized and licensed ZAP sales and service centers throughout the country. ZAP is seeking to expand its distribution through partnering with a select group of dealers marketing advanced technology vehicles. A publicly owned company based in Northern California, ZAP recently launched sales for a new electric car called the XEBRA and is working to develop other vehicles as part of its automotive business plan, which includes a new Brazilian "trybrid" micro-car powered by gasoline, electricity and ethanol.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Feeling the squeeze

Pedal power, pint-sized and fuel efficient cars get motorists' attention
By ROGER HARRIS, May 28, 2006

Dentist William Salmons is selling his Hummer. Retired businessman Herb Jacobs bought an ultra-small fuel-efficient import and University of Tennessee graduate student Adam Stoermer pedals a commuter bike to campus.
These are some of the ways Knoxville-area motorists are conserving fuel in the wake of rising gasoline prices.
Herb Jacobs of Knoxville says he’s used to the attention from curious onlookers like Melton Brown of Cleveland, Tenn., as he fills his tank. Brown said he thought the car "was a cute little thing." Despite its compact appearance, Jacobs says his Smart car has adequate room to be comfortable. Although popular in Europe, the car is just starting to be seen in the United States.

Read full article here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fusion Car Radio's Blinged-out Smart

Mercedes Smart Car , Phoenix AZ, USA

FUSION continues it's global reputation for being distinctively different, with the creation of this unique Mercedes Smart Car. Along with an attractive FUSION install, the upholstery underwent a complete re-fit. This includes green leather seats with FUSION green neon piping, and standard gauges with a custom green trim. FUSION green neon lighting was also added to the doors, tailgate crossover display window and in the seat headrests.FUSION’s Mercedes Smart Car made it's public debut at the SEMA Show, Las Vegas 2004.

Man's small vehicle is a Smart one

Source: Dallas Morning News

When Richard Riccardi zips through Collin County in his Smart car, heads turn so fast that some could get whiplash. Then the zingers start flying.
"What is it?" wise guys ask. "What's your car going to be when it grows up?" "Where's the other half of your car?"
I guess the tiny Smart car makes the Volkswagen Bug and Mini Cooper seem large.
The gas-powered, fuel-efficient vehicle is popular in Europe but rarely seen in the U.S.
Mr. Riccardi couldn't find one in Texas so he got his two-seater from a dealership in Pennsylvania.
The McKinney businessman and Fairview family man has wanted a Smart car ever since one caught his eye in Italy four years ago.
Maneuverability and parking are a snap, but the car's real advantage, he said, is the gas mileage.
Made by DaimlerChrysler and imported by Zap, it's supposed to get 45 miles per gallon. But Mr. Riccardi only got 35 mpg while running the air conditioning full-blast on his first tank last week.
Not bad compared with the 14 mpg on his other car – a Lincoln Navigator.
"It's fantastic," he said. "And you're not cramped at all."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Smart Car is a fuel efficient Vehicle

– Not a Hybrid or Electric Car it’s just small and gets 40 miles per [U.S.] gallon
May 20th, 2006
The Smart Car is now going to be sold in the USA by a company called ZAP. It is a tiny car that you may have seen in the new Pink Panther movie with Steve Martin you may also see the Smart Car in the just released, “The Da Vinci Code” movie. The car that is featured in the movies is called a ForTwo model which fits 2 passengers.
The Smart Car has been sold since 1998 throughout the world. ZAP is the company that wants to distribute the automobile in the United States. Currently they are looking to set up dealerships across the country.
The engine is in the back of the vehicle and is a 3 cylinder that is rated at 61 bhp. The Smart car will only go up to 85 mph. They claim that the reason for lowering the maximum speed will help the automobiles fuel efficiency. The gas tank holds 8.7 gallons. You can get the vehicle in automatic or manual.
The Smart Car is not a hybrid or is it an electric car; it runs on regular unleaded gasoline. Because of the size of the vehicle it is very fuel efficient. The EPA rating for the city and highway is 40 miles per gallon. This is very comparable to hybrid vehicles.
Read full article here.
Note: Only the diesel smart fortwo is currently being sold in Canada by Mercedes Benz

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The new Mercedes-Benz Museum

As the inventor of the automobile, DaimlerChrysler has a responsibility to create an adequate forum for automotive history and to give a home to the unique tradition of the Mercedes-Benz brand. On a floor area of 16,500 square meters (178,000 square feet), the Mercedes-Benz Museum provides its visitors with an unforgettable experience of the brand. The central elements encompass the entire tradition of the brand with the three-pointed star – passenger cars, commercial vehicles and motor sport – thus creating a communication platform for the Mercedes-Benz brand that is unparalleled throughout the world. Imaginative, chronologically ordered presentations expound the entire “Mercedes Legend” – from the dawn of automotive history up to visions of the future. Accompanying showcase collections also elucidate the various thematic backgrounds.

Read more here.

The Mercedes-Benz Passage at Mercedes-Benz World in Stuttgart Links Tradition with the Present

A variety of attractions welcome visitors as they walk between the New Mercedes Benz Museum and the adjacent Mercedes-Benz Center Stuttgart. In the Passage they are able to enjoy a variety of catering establishments, purchase souvenirs in different shops dedicated to the brand or make use of additional services such as an ATM, postbox or public telephone.
More than 3000 products bearing the Mercedes star are available here, on a sales area totalling 697 square metres. Interesting literature and high-quality miniatures, carefully selected clothing items and useful day-to-day objects are to be found, as well as luxury watches, decorative home furnishings or small gifts for those left at home.
The Passage also gives visitors an insight into the further activities of the Mercedes Car Group: current models of the high-end Maybach, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren super-sportscar and the smart are on show to illustrate the variety of cars currently on offer.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Indian motor maker gives the go-ahead for £1,200 'people's car'

Randeep Ramesh in New DelhiSaturday May 20, 2006 The Guardian
One of India's biggest motor manufacturers announced ambitious plans yesterday to launch a cheap, small "people's car" in 2008 for about £1,200.
Tata Motors, a subsidiary of one of the country's largest conglomerates, said it would invest 10 billion rupees (£120m) in the plant near Kolkata in West Bengal. Initially the plant will employ 2,000 people.
The "people's car" has been a dream of the company's chairman, Ratan Tata, for many years. In the past, Mr Tata has talked about a vehicle that would "bridge the gap between cars and scooters" for 3 million people a year in India.
The cost of the car, a four-door, small-capacity engine vehicle, will be around 100,000 rupees (£1,200). This is less than half the price of the next cheapest car on the road in India, making it affordable for those who at present buy motorbikes.
"Families who presently all ride through the heat and dust on a two-wheeler will have an alternative in the form of a car for the first time," said Ravi Kant, managing director of Tata Motors.
There has been recent speculation that Tata is considering buying DaimlerChrysler's four-seater Smart car. Executives at Tata refused to comment on the reports.

View source.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Time Use Expert's 7-year Fight for Better Gas Mileage

Newswise — It took nearly seven years, but a University of Maryland time-use expert finally managed to get his answer to better fuel mileage into this country – the “Smart Car.” “I'm probably one of the first in Maryland or the DC area to own one,” says John Robinson, a sociologist and a national expert on time usage. “It’s essentially a car cut in half, but it can get up to 50 miles per gallon, seats two very comfortably and is cleverly designed. It’s a little bigger than a motorcycle, but a lot safer. I saw one in Paris in 1999 and have been trying to get one ever since.”
Ironically, U.S. regulations made it difficult to import the German/French car. “I spent hundreds of hours and made thousands of phone calls satisfying all the red tape,” he says. “It had to be retrofitted to meet various U.S. standards, including some environmental ones, even though it’s one of the cleanest cars on the road.”
Several earlier attempts to import the car failed. But Robinson says the bureaucratic kinks have been worked out, and it was shipped through a California company that retrofitted it and sent it on to a New Hampshire dealership. He drove it home to Maryland in a blinding rain storm just before Mother’s Day.
Read more here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ZAP Reports Record 1st Quarter Sales for 2006, 141% Increase a Record Quarter Since Merger in 2002

SANTA ROSA, Calif.--May 16, 2006--Automotive technology pioneer ZAP (NYSE Arca:ZP) announced today the results of operations for the first quarter of fiscal year 2006. The Company reported a sales increase of 141 percent over sales from the first quarter of 2005 due to the recent shipments of Smart Cars Americanized for ZAP to authorized automotive dealerships, the largest such increase since ZAP merged with Voltage Vehicles and launched its automotive marketing and distribution business plan in 2002.
Net sales for the quarter ended March 31, 2006 were $2.9 million compared to $1.2 million in 2005. ZAP experienced an increase of $1.7 million or 141 percent primarily due to sales of the Smart Cars, electric vehicles and other consumer products.
Net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2006 was $2.8 million as compared to a net loss of $1.6 million for the period ended March 31, 2005. The increase was primarily due to higher consulting and professional fees, as well as stock-based compensation expenses due to the adoption of SFAS 123R.

Read full article here.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Oh God! Hanks takes up the gauntlet

It’s been billed as the most anticipated movie of the year and hits Malaysian cinema screens on May 18. Megastar Tom Hanks plays the pivotal role of Dr Robert Langdon, a Harvard symbolist who finds himself in the midst of a mystery involving the Church and a secret society. Hanks divulges his impetus in taking up one of the most talked about fictional characters in cinematic history.
Question: What was the most difficult moment and what was the best moment during the shooting?
Tom Hanks: The great part is that we got to do it on such a grand scale. We did everything in this movie, from having important words being communicated in a car ­— of course we’re in a Smart Car, shooting on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris at 3 o’clock in the morning, in the middle of the Louvre as opposed to a fake bathroom or an office somewhere. That was the grandiose part of it all. We were operating on this huge, massive, very, very popular canvas that everybody knows. And if everybody knows about it, how are we going to surprise them? The challenges never go away.
Read full article here.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Just charge it: Mooresville company producing vehicles that say no to gas

12:09 PM EDT on Friday, May 12, 2006

On Raceway Drive in Mooresville there is a shop full of surprises. In the heart of NASCAR country, Hybrid Technologies is taking cars like a Chrysler PT Cruiser and replacing the gasoline engine with an all electric one.
Richard Griffiths is the company’s driving force.
Describing the motor, he says, “This is basically 400 moving parts reduced down to about 30 parts. This truly is a plug in hybrid...on a 220 you're looking at four to five hours."
With that four to five hour charge, Griffiths says the average driver could travel 120 miles.
The power supply is 70 thin lithium batteries.
Also in the lithium powered lineup at hybrid is a Chrysler Crossfire sports coupe, a Mini Cooper and a true miniature vehicle, the European smart car.
"This (smart car) is about $35,000. The PT Cruiser is about $45,000”, Griffiths says.
Efficient yes, but more than double the price tag of a gasoline version. So who's the target buyer?
"You're someone who supports the industry. Who wants to make a statement. It is an emotional decision rather than an economical one," Griffiths says.

Read full article here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Smart Car: Could Less be More?

By John Rawlins
May 10, 2006 - If you've ever dreamed of owning a Mercedes-Benz, but couldn't afford it, how about taking half? You can now buy three cylinders instead of 6 and two seats instead of 4. A Chester County man says it's not settling, it's smart.
Joe Stubblebine has gotten use to people staring and saying really odd things when he drives by.
It is an eye catcher, which is why Stubblebine's company uses it as a rolling billboard. A mini is small, but the Smart Car is smaller. It is not a hybrid but gets 40 miles per gallon from its tiny rear mounted engine.
Smart is owned by Mercedes Benz. Despite its tiny size, Smart's reputation in its native Europe for safety.
Joe was nice enough to give us the keys so we can drive the Smart which is what we are going to do.
It fires up easily, it's roomy for two. There is no back seat. Its ride is a bit harsh making potholes something to avoid. We stopped at West Chester University. A question for co-eds: Would you give a guy a second look if he drove up in a Smart instead of say an Escalade?
(Copyright 2006 by Action News. All Rights Reserved.)
View source.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Green Machine vs The Radish

Rival Isetta owners John and Heinz threatened to drag race their respective British and German built cars at Saturday's season opener of the Street Classics Show and Shine Association's meet. It was great to meet up with other smart drivers Mr. Natural, smart65 (of clubsmartcar) and the Hewetsons.

Smart gets charged up

An electric Smart car that can be driven 70 miles before it needs to be recharged is to begin trials in the UK. DaimlerChrysler is believed to be producing a small batch of the nippy runabouts to test their performance and customer reaction. The zero-emissions two-seater is targeted at city commuters and would be congestion charge exempt in London.
Talks have been held between the car maker and BAA about placing a small fleet of electric Smarts at a main airport for the use of passengers. The prototype of the electric Smart ForTwo was produced by Zytek, a Midlands company, with government support.
An industry source said: “Smart cars always had the potential to make great little electric vehicles because they are light, turn on a sixpence, and have the feel of a much bigger car inside.”

View source.

Mercedes Car Group: Worldwide Sales Increase by Seven Percent through April 2006

Stuttgart, Germany, May 04, 2006
The Mercedes Car Group sold 100,800 passenger cars of the Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and smart brands in April 2006 (April 2005: 105,700; minus five percent). During the first four months of 2006, deliveries of the Mercedes Car Group rose by seven percent to the record figure of 395,800 vehicles (January-April 2005: 368,600).
In April, sales at smart amounted to 9,500 vehicles. As a result, smart delivered a total of 38,500 vehicles to customers during the first four months of the year.


Missing Smart Car Found In Bush

April 27, 2006 By Azrol Azmi -- Bandar Seri Begawan - No sooner did the Borneo Bulletin hit the stands yesterday, the silver metallic colour Smart car that was reported missing in the front page was found, thanks to the goodwill of a member from the public who noticed the car stashed in the bush along Jalan Tungku.
The owner of the car, Umi, beaming with joy and happiness drove to the Bulletin with her fiancé (Aziz) to personally thank the newspaper.
She said that she received a call from a lady, a teacher at the Little Star School, who saw the stolen Smart car stashed in a thicket along Jalan Tungku near the school.
Umi added the teacher called up Aziz early yesterday morning after reading the Bulletin that provided the telephone number and informed the whereabouts of the missing car.
The teacher apparently noticed the car in the thicket for two days and began to grow suspicious until she read the news in the Bulletin.
Umi said she was glad there were no damages to the car and some of the shopping items were still inside. Only her mobile phone and keys to the car were found missing. She said the police and CID are investigating the case.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Twike: An electric car with a difference

Give it a quick charge and you're ready to roll. Tricia Wright goes eco-friendly...
Published: 02 May 2006
The Twike may sound like a three-wheeled contraption that Jonathan Ross has bought, but this two-seater electric car is a serious proposition.
Unlike the infamous Sinclair C5, which pretty much discredited the idea of electric transport for two decades, this one is properly engineered and even has a roof. There is only one snag: the price. For most potential buyers, the initial outlay of £15,000 will stretch the bounds of eco-friendship to the very limit. Yes, you can indeed buy a Mazda MX-5, say, or a Mini Cooper convertible for that sort of money, or two of its nearest competitor the Indian-built Reva G-Wiz electric car, but the Twike is a different eco-proposition.
Low ownership costs do defray at least some of the high price You don't pay road tax, congestion charges in London, or for parking in some places. When you consider that parking can cost £40 a day in central London, this is quite a factor, says Andreas Schroeer, the man responsible for importing these quirky little German vehicles into the UK. Throw fuel into the equation and the commuter averaging 50 miles a day will save around £5,000 a year in a Twike. It costs about 20p to "fill up" a Twike, by plugging it into the mains.
Read the full story here.

Healey car to be reborn with Smart overhaul

The Times May 03, 2006
By Christine Buckley, Industrial Editor
HEALEY, one of the classic names in British sports cars, is to be revived by a consortium including David James, the Conservative Party adviser and company doctor, The Times has learnt.
The Project Kimber consortium, which tried to acquire the assets of MG Rover and then the MG brand last year, has bought the Healey name from the family of Donald Healey, the rally driver and the business’s founder, who died in 1988.
The consortium plans to start production — possibly in Coventry — of a new retro-style sports car towards the end of next year, with an annual output of up to 15,000 cars and initially employing about 200 people.
Access Capital, a venture capital group working with the consortium, is believed to have secured funding of £65 million for the first two years of the operation. Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency, has offered £1.95 million in grant aid for the scheme, the maximum that it is able to offer, for production to be based in an old Dunlop factory in Coventry.
Read full story here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Get your motor runnin'....

Classic car show season opens this weekend. The Street Classics Show and Shine Association's weekly event starts on Saturday May 6th from 5:00 pm to dusk at the Canadian Tire Store parking lot, 1608 The Queensway at The East Mall in Etobicoke, ON (427/QEW) . See you there!

Clever little car

28 April 2006
James Stanford
The Smart Fortwo has a rival that could be even cleverer. The Clever three-wheeler was launched in England this week, promising motorbike thrills and remarkable fuel economy.
This two-seater, top speed 100km/h, weighs 395kg.
Its chassis allows the cabin to tilt up to 45 degrees when cornering, while the rear wheels sit flat on the road.
The Clever has a 15kW single-cylinder 230cc four-stroke engine that uses compressed natural gas.
Its backers claim the vehicle will produce less than one third the emissions of a traditional family car, using the equivalent of 2.6 litres for 100km.

Read more here.
Andy: thanks for your comment and request.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 Brings First Smart Car to Pennsylvania

Fun and Fuel-efficient vehicle gets 40-55 miles per gallon
WEST CHESTER, Pa., May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- today announced that they have acquired the first officially legal Smart car in Pennsylvania, a 2006 SMART ForTwo Coupe. It is estimated that only approximately 50-70 of legally converted Smart cars have been sold in the United States. plans to utilize the vehicle as part of an Internet marketing campaign titled " the SMART career choice!". The vehicle will be officially unveiled to the public on Thursday, May 4th, 2006, at the company's "Nurses Night at the Ballpark" event, a nursing career fair at the Citizens Bank Phillies Ballpark in Philadelphia, PA.
The Smart car, manufactured by smart GmbH, a division of DaimlerChrysler, is the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car on the road today, and is the third-most fuel-efficient vehicle in the U.S., with hybrid vehicles holding the first two spots. The Smart car gets an estimated 40-55 miles per gallon, and is powered by a 3-cylinder gas engine. The gas tank holds 8.67 gallons, and the vehicle possesses both an automatic or manual mode of operation. At only 8.2 feet long, and weighing in at just 1,588 pounds, it is the smallest vehicle on the road today. The vehicle comes with air, power windows, and driver and passenger airbags.
"There is nothing like it on the road today," says Joseph Stubblebine, president of Human Capital Solutions, the parent company of "This car attracts crowds of people because of its unique design and its extremely small size, and it is an absolute blast to drive!" paid $24,900 for the vehicle.

Read full press release here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Brown downplays Smart car proposal

Two-seater urban Smart cars are not going to be used as hire cars for visitors anytime soon, according to Tourism Minister Ewart Brown.Even though they have been suggested as an idea by the head of Bermuda’s tourism office in London, a lack of parking spaces remains the main hurdle preventing the idea being put into operation.The idea of allowing tourists the option of renting out one of the two-seat cars, which are almost as long as they are wide, as an alternative to hiring a moped has been looked at and remains an unviable option, said Dr. Brown.It was Bermuda’s tourism department regional sales manager for the UK and Europe Thomas MacDonald who most recently raised the idea of Smart cars for hire during an interview with The Royal Gazette earlier this month in which he discussed a variety of possible initiatives to cater for European visitors.But Deputy Premier Dr. Brown said the idea had been investigated in 2000 and the difficulties identified then were still an issue. “It was not feasible at the time because of a lack of parking spaces. It did not fly then and I don’t think it is going to fly in the immediate future. It is a good idea but we have not answered the question of space,” he said.But one aspect of the tourism package that was touched upon by Mr. MacDonald in London and with which Dr. Brown concurs is for a revival of live, home-grown music and entertainment to enhance the Island’s tourism product.

View source.