Thursday, June 28, 2007

DaimlerChrysler recalls 1,650 Smart cars

The German-US automaker DaimlerChrysler said Tuesday it was recalling 1,650 Smart ForTwo minicars worldwide to check for steering problems.
The problems stem from the mounting of a part supplied by the US group Delphi, and could cause drivers to lose control of their cars, a spokesman said.
The recall concerns vehicles sold since April, he added.
Smart cars have not sold well since they were introduced in 1998 and DaimlerChrysler launched a second generation late last year in an attempt to save the ultra-compact car.

View source.

Monday, June 25, 2007

smart Becomes Official Global Partner

- 24-hour, concert series on all continents to combat global warming
- Partnership announced today in Stuttgart by DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche, SOS/Live Earth founder Kevin Wall and singer Katie Melua
-Largest global music event of all time
Stuttgart, Germany, May 23, 2007

“Open your mind” - and combine an exciting lifestyle with environmental protection: True to its philosophy, smart is supporting the Live Earth concerts and “Save Our Selves – SOS” campaign against global warming launched by Founder Kevin Wall and Partner former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. DaimlerChrysler is with smart the world’s only automaker serving as an official partner of the Live Earth concerts, which will feature more than 100 headliners on July 7, 2007. smart is providing the official shuttle service for all artists and other celebrities participating in Live Earth.
Read more here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

One Smart way to cross Canada

Road trips from coast to coast – 6,000 km by microcar, and a motorcycle marathon
John LeBlanc
Special to the Star
Jun 22, 2007
When you read this, I'll be well on my way to crossing Canada in a Smart car. I hope.
The consensus with most of my friends and family about the idea of driving the micro car across our macro country, from Halifax to Vancouver, was: "You're nuts!"
"Why not take one of those hundred grand German luxobarges or tricked-out sports cars you're always bringing home and taunting us with?"
"For gawdsakes man, at least drive something that resembles a real car!"
Even more sympathy was garnered when I mentioned my co-pilot and navigator was to be my 14-going-on-24-year-old daughter, Olivia.
(I'll have eight provinces and about 6,000 kilometres elbow-to-elbow in the Smart to sway her current opinion that I am ruining what little of the summer she has off.)
The thinking was that with fuel prices what they are today, most folks are tightening their belts when it comes to planning summer driving holidays. This Smart driving quest would be an extreme example of making do with less.
Read full story here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Police test drive Smart cars

Parking officers using environmentally and economically sound Smart cars in pilot project
Jun 20, 2007 04:30 AM Robyn Doolittle Staff Reporter

At 6-foot-4, things get a bit squishy for parking officer Otimoi Oyemu in his division's new Smart car.
His knees protrude eight centimetres above the bottom of the steering wheel. He can easily place one hand on the windshield and the other on the back window. And to reach the police radio, Oyemu has to twist his chest into the passenger seat to get around his own leg.
Despite the tight squeeze, Oyemu says he enjoys zipping around town in the Smart cars – even if they max out at about 100 km/h.
"It's a great little city car. We don't need to go too fast," he said yesterday on patrol. "And it's very easy to park. It can fit in all kinds of tight spots."
For the past month, parking enforcement officers have been cruising around in two Smart cars emblazoned with police logos and strips. The force is also testing out a pair of Civic hybrids. This environmentally – and economically – smart pilot program will run until next February. If suitable, Toronto police may adopt the pint-sized cars on a larger scale.
Read full story here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trudi goes to New York (state)

Photo: Adirondack Scenic Railroad station in Lake Placid, New York
To read about our visit see my sabbatical blog here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Toronto Gets Wii on Wheels

For those of you who haven't experienced the awesomeness that is the Nintendo Wii just yet, Nintendo recently announced a new advertising campaign that will bring their next-generation console to your driveway.
Teaming up with Smart Car, Nintendo will embed their Wii gaming console in a fleet of cars in Toronto (along with three other Canadian cities) in a cross-promotion for both the video game maker and the automobile company. Toronto residents who happen to be in the right parking lot at the right time will have the chance to get a feel of the Smart Car and also play games such as Secret Rings, Sonic, Tiger Woods PGA 07, Big Brain Academy, and the ever-popular Wii Sports.
Read more here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hundreds line up to drive smart car

Article Launched: 06/18/2007 03:03:39 AM PDT
LOS ANGELES -- Scoot over, Mini Cooper. Bug off, Honda Fit. See ya later, Toyota Yaris.
A new car is coming to town, and it is smaller than anything on the road.
The two-seater smart fortwo is 104 inches long, half the size of a typical SUV. It zips along up to 90 mph, and parallel parking is a no-brainer.
In Europe, where gas can top $6 a gallon, the fortwos have been popular for the past decade. But will the car -- so small its official spelling uses the diminutive lower case -- find buyers here? About 12,000 people across the country already have put down $99 refundable deposits. The basic Pure goes for $12,000, the Passion starts at $14,000 and the Cabrio is $17,000.
At a recent test-drive session in North Hollywood, dozens of people lined up to take the tiny cars for a spin around the block, including Art Bjornestad.

Read full article here.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New ZAP Electric Scooter Beats High Gas Prices

New ZAPINO(TM) Moped-Class Electric Scooter Now in Stock
SANTA ROSA, CA--May 31, 2007 -- Filling the gaps between point A and point B, ZAP (OTC BB:ZAAP.OB - News) has finally found the middle road. The new ZAPINO electric scooter is a great link between ZAP's personal transporters and electric cars. Not only economical and eco-friendly, the ZAPINO is powerful with an advanced 3000-watt brushless DC hub motor, perfect for city commuting. Able to reach speeds of 30 MPH, the ZAPINO will be able to keep up with city traffic without contributing to city pollution.
The rear wheel hub motor on the ZAPINO creates more room on board for additional batteries and performance. This innovative drive system eliminates the need for belts or chains with lower overall maintenance. It also delivers a more enjoyable ride because it is nearly silent, accelerates smoothly with no shifting, has no engine vibration, no tailpipe or heat exhaust -- just good, clean fun.
ZAP pioneered the use of wheel motors in electric vehicles, first incorporating one into its line of ZAPPY3 electric scooters in 2004. Learn more at

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Rebellious future of car design?

Have you ever wondered about the future of the automobile? I mean, really wondered…
By Christopher Hubbard
Well a group of former Coventry University students certain have. Kazunori Inomota, Edward Stubbs, and Mujammil Khan-Muztar are three recent graduates from the Automotive Design program.
Finding themselves at the end of their course and unemployed they sensibly decided that enterprise was the best solution, and have set about an independent project with gusto. The concept sounds deceptively simple: ‘a future iconic vehicle for the year 2020’. But the execution is excellent, because as a contemporary member of the future target market I can see exactly where they’re coming from – and where they think cars are going, too, sensible science fact rather than science fiction.
Called the Rebel, the design specifically targets a youth audience, reflecting current obsessions with social networking, ‘lifestyle’ products, customisation and technology. Think Mini, iPod, and myspace, and you’ll get the idea. The exterior isn’t all that radical – ‘chunkiness without aggression’ is its mantra, and the urban environment its intended home – but the clever bits are on the inside. Ignore the collapsible seats and interior bedding – here used to position the Rebel as secondary or alternative living space – we’ve seen these before. What’s new is the ‘plug and play’ power grid in the passenger area, which allows personalisation potential way beyond the wildest dreams of any existing manufacturer options catalogue.
Read more here.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mitsubishi i: A K-car for the UK that is A-OK

June 13, 2007
Mitsubishi's latest arrival on the British market, the i, is small but beautifully formed, and, with a top speed of 80mph, is the perfect town car, says Sean O'Grady
Price: £9,084
Engine: 660cc, three-cylinder, turbo-charger/intercooler with variable valve timing develops 57bhp at 6,000rpm.
Transmission: four-speed automatic
Performance: 84mph; 0 to 62mph in 14.9 seconds; approx 54mpg
C02: 114g/km

The i seems friendly from the outside, and it feels cosy on the inside. The car, its maker tells us, "is the first Japanese car to use Oeko-Tex standard 100 certified hypoallergenic seat fabric", whatever that is, and I'm sure it complements perfectly the car's deodorant roof- lining (no joke). Not that you'll be perspiring much, thanks to the efficient air-conditioning system.
Mechanically, it is also just as clever and advanced. There's an aluminium space-frame structure (just like a Rolls- Royce), de Dion rear suspension (just like in the best Alpha Romeos) and electric steering (like a BMW).

Read full article here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

smart ForTwo blog

This blog is about the new (451) smart fortwo slated for the US. smart cars will be arriving in early 2008. With over 20,000 reserved, smart cars are destined to be a hit here stateside.

Go here to read more:

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Smart car dealership site approved

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut — Plans to open one of the nation's first Smart car dealerships at 80 Commerce Drive were approved Thursday afternoon by the town's Zoning Board of Appeals.
The Smart car, now sold in 36 countries, would be the shortest car on the American market and gets 40-plus miles per gallon, according to Ken Kettenbeil, a spokesman for Smart USA.
Peter Penczer, chairman of the town's Economic Development Commission, said he thinks the upcoming Smart dealership is a positive addition to Commerce Drive, where a lot of new commercial developments are planned.
The town's third railroad station, surrounded by a large commercial complex, will be built up the street in a few years.
"It's a very interesting car. I've seen it in Europe and found it personally quite interesting," Penczer said of the tiny vehicles.
Smart USA, based in Detroit, plans to open 75 dealerships in America early next year and two are in Connecticut. The company, a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, plans next month to formally announce the locations of its dealerships, according to Kettenbeil.