Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cars for Rent, From Almost Any Curb

Want to rent a Smart car for 19 cents a minute? Just flash your driver's licence at a device by the windshield, and off you go. That's the essence of a pilot project starting in the German city of Ulm on Friday.
Rain is crashing down and you are late for work. The bus is late and there's no taxi in sight. Why not rent a car? It sounds insane, but it will soon be possible for citizens of Ulm, the focus of a pilot project by Daimler, which wants to make car rental as "easy as using a mobile phone."
The company plans to make a fleet of 50 blue-striped Smart cars available in Ulm to customers who sign up for the project. It will work like car-sharing in Europe and North America, but without the designated parking spots: Customers can unlock a car using a driver's license outfitted with an electronic chip, then type in a PIN code, and drive off. When they're finished, the car can be almost left anywhere in Ulm, waiting for the next driver.
Read full article here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Battery Required

Smart is a contender in the economy stakes. Tested in the windy city.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nissan Nuvu

ROLLE, Switzerland (Sept. 9, 2008) - A world premiere of a futuristic concept car and of an all-new production car, as well as a heavily revised version of an existing model will be the stars of Nissan's 2008 Paris Motor Show.
All the stars of the show share a philosophy of tackling the reality of mobility in and around the city, today, tomorrow and in the more distant future.
Nissan's vision for the future of urban transportation is encapsulated in Nuvu, literally a 'new view' of the type of car we will be driving in the middle of the next decade. Compact - it's just 3 meters long - Nuvu is a concept vehicle with unique 2+1 seating. It is aimed at urban dwellers who don't want to compromise on their personal freedom or their comfort, yet who appreciate that there is a need for a dramatic change in the way we move around our cities.
Nuvu is an electric vehicle, is agile, easy to drive and even easier to park. Nissan has already announced plans to introduce an all-electric car in Japan and the US in 2010 and to mass-market it globally in 2012. Nuvu is not that car, though it does share some of the technology that will feature in the planned production vehicle.
Nuvu incorporates a witty representation of Nissan's green credentials: across its all-glass roof are a dozen or so small solar panels. Shaped like leaves on a branch, the power they generate is fed to the battery using a 'tree trunk' within the car as a conduit. Nuvu also uses natural, organic and recycled materials within the cabin.
Nuvu is compact on the outside yet roomy on the inside. Built on a unique platform, it sits on a wheelbase of 1980 mm but is 1700 mm wide and 1550 mm tall to create a large and airy cabin.
Read more here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Electric vehicles spark at Paris car show

PARIS (AFP) — Carmarkers rolled out a slew of electric models at the Paris motor show Friday, with a view to filling dealer showrooms by 2012 when new European legislation on curbing emissions kicks in.
About a third of the new models presented at the show are "clean cars" that use "a little or a lot of electricity," said Francois Roudier of the French carmakers' group CCFA.
Big names like Germany's Daimler and lesser known entities such as France's Heuliez have shown all-electric models here, hoping to cash in on both the new regulations and consumer fears over soaring oil prices.
Some are still prototypes, like Renault's ZE Concept, which the company describes as a "socially-responsible vehicle," while others are already well into the test phase, like Daimler's Smart car, which is currently being trialed in a rental scheme for companies in London.
Carmakers are in a rush to get their models onto the market before new European Union legislation kicks in in 2012.
Read full story here.