Hooray, Hipsters! The Smart Car Is Coming!

Perhaps more resembling the foot of Voltron (the vehicle one, not the lions) than an actual car, I love the Smart. It can zoom right into the space between two SUVs nearly touching bumpers. It’s designed by Swatch, a company best known for making cheap plastic watches. And you can actually switch lanes on a freeway by driving under the carriage of a passing semi-trailer.

Unfortunately, up to now, it’s only been available to Euroweenies. But good news! It’s coming to the States by 2008, to become the next vehicular craze of America’s vast armada of environmentally-friendly hipsters.

There’s other cool things you can do to a Smart besides drive it. For example, it can be propelled into the air by affixing the low end of a see-saw underneath the bumper and then having two of your friends jump on the other side. It’s perfect to stuff full of clowns. With the tires removed, it makes an excellent shoe for an extremely fat person. And so on.

Posted out of sheer enthusiasm!

It’s Official…The Smart Car Is Coming To The U.S. [Autochannel]

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  1. Scott says:

    I saw these all over in London & Paris a few years ago, and thought they were butt-ugly, and, as Nader would say, “unsafe at any speed.” But on a recent trip to Malta & Sicily, I saw them again… and the myriad of designs was intriguing; convertibles, 2 or 4 doors, “sport” versions w. half doors & low windscreen (bugs-in-teeth), minivans, etc.

    I doubt we’ll immediately see all those options, but oil prices will help sales, and higher sales will bring the other models. Iraq, Iran, China, and North Korea will ensure that.

    As for safety, well, they’ll have to pass US crash tests, so that’s something, I guess…

    This was interesting, though:
    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22smart+car%22

  2. geedeck says:

    The author might want to note that these have been available in Canada for some time, as I saw them being driven in Toronto last summer

  3. mark duffy says:

    THIS is what Jesus would drive.

  4. John Stracke says:

    I’d love to have one of these for commuting—I drive something like 5 miles to catch the train; I don’t need the RAV4 for that. It’d be the fuel efficiency of a Prius, but for something like $7000 less.

    The catch, though, is that sometimes I take one of my kids with me in the Rav. They’re too small to sit in a front seat, which means the 2-seater SmartCar isn’t an option.

    Ah, well. The Rav could easily last another 5 years or more; maybe by that time the kids will be big enough. :-)

  5. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I love people who haul of and say stuff (like that the Smart isn’t safe) based only on data they pulled out of their butthole. Here’s a link:

    http://www.zapworld.com/cars/safetydetails.asp

    And a brief explanation (more on the site above):

    Why is the Smart car so safe?
    The tridion safety cell forms the core element of the body of each smart car. It is manufactured exclusively from high-tensile steel and creates a cage-like safety structure for the occupants. The tridion safety cell makes the smart city-coupe one of the safest of small cars with regard to its crash safety characteristics. This has been confirmed by numerous crash tests conducted in Europe.

    Moreover, people like me, who don’t drive the USS Nimitz out of some junior high need to be “cool” (I drive a 1900 lb., 66mpg Honda Insight) would be a lot safer if more people drove Smarts.

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pollute any more than absolutely necessary, and I can’t look at the faces of 21-year-old soldiers dying in Iraq and drive a big guzzler.

  6. Amy Alkon000 says:

    “haul off” (sigh — need coffee).

  7. Papercutninja says:

    I remember seeing these all over Asia a few years back. I’m really glad that they decided to bring them over. For Manhattan driving, it can’t be beat.

  8. konstantConsumer says:

    they are pretty damn cool, and i would love to have one, but they are way over-priced. if they were in the low teens, i would go for it, but you can get a honda civic or toyota corolla for way cheaper and get similar gas milage.

  9. ModerateSnark says:

    It’s stating the obvious, but fuel enonomy is more important than tinyness itself.

    If the thing was really cool, it would run on a single D battery, or perhaps burn the driver’s own gas by-product, collected through an intake in the seat cushion. Now that’s alternative fuel!

  10. adaminc says:

    as geedeck has stated, the smart cars have been in Canada for quite a while, almost 2 years now, they debuted around August of 2004 in Canada, i’ve seen quite a few of them around the GTA (greater toronto area), especially commuters, and its suprisingly quick, i’ve only ever see the coupe though, havent seen the cabriolet yet, and as far as I know, it starts at around $17k CAD. Not that bad, but still pretty high for a car like this.

  11. Scott says:

    Yeah, you tell ‘em, Amy! Anyone who uses a truck to haul goods on their farm, and any family of 6 that owns a safe, solid minivan, and anyone who needs the power of a big engine to tow their trailer, well, they’re all a bunch of troop-hating baby killers. Speaking of which, I live near an Army Reserve base in New York state, and last weekend, I saw some self-hating soldiers driving big ol’ Hummers. Don’t those testosterone-choked fools realise they’re sending themselves to war?

    Amy loves them more than any of us.

    Hey, wait a second…….. Amy, you own a Honda Insight–an electric/gasoline hybrid? Hmm…

    >> “An electric van is responsible for 763 percent more sulfur dioxide emissions than a highly efficient fuel-burning van, because coal is used to fire many electric plants, according to the General Accounting Office.”

    >> “Electric cars with lead-acid batteries would create more than 60 times the amount of lead pollution of a vehicle burning leaded gasoline, according to researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University.”

    >> According to a report in “Science” (Lave et al, vol. 268, p 993. May 1995): “…an electric car with batteries made from newly mined lead releases 60 times more lead than that of a car using leaded petrol.”
    – and –
    “If a large number of electric cars are produced, the demand for lead for batteries will surge, requiring more lead to be mined.”

    Uh-oh, Amy… It looks like your pre-purchase research was limited to what *sounded* right to you. That, and your trust in Honda advertising (no conflict of interest there). I guess it’s a lot more self-congratulatory to tell your fellow yentas how eco-friendly you are because you own an electric/hybrid car, rather than tell them you studied the scientific data.

    There are *dozens* of factors involved in creating less pollution, aside from strict miles-per-gallon. My 15-MPG VehiCross may create less pollution annually than your 66-MPG Insight. How? I drive it fewer than 5,000 miles per year, I keep it well maintained, and I’m a more responsible driver than a person with “…some junior high need to be ‘cool.’”

    Both you and your website are filled with irrational arrogance, hypocrisy, and half-baked notions of propriety. You actually write about the 1960 Nash Rambler that you OWN; what’s the pollution output of that svelte, forty-year-old, 1.5-ton runabout?

    Now go wipe away the soy milk-soaked Kashi you just spit all over your PETA newsletter (printed on recycled rice paper, I’m sure), and pray to your goddess for wisdom. Then check the mirror, because someone threw piety in your face.

  12. HawkWolf says:

    Scott points out two things.

    a) Environmental impact is really complicated, and doesn’t break down to ‘bigger is worse’.

    b) people love to be assholes to each other.

  13. Scott says:

    HawkWolf:

    a) Agreed. My point exactly.

    b) True. However, sometimes, we must fight fire with fire.

    When someone pontificates a load of hypocritical, holier-than-thou claptrap, it makes me cringe:
    “…I don’t want to pollute any more than absolutely necessary, and I can’t look at the faces of 21-year-old soldiers dying in Iraq and drive a big guzzler.”

    Then I read more nonsense on her website, including a page devoted to the 46-year-old, pre-catalytic converter smog monster she also drives, a 1960 Nash Rambler. Hypocrisy personified…

    The straw that broke the camel’s back was seeing that, on her website, she touts herself as “the advice goddess.” Bad advice based on honest mistakes is one thing, but when based on hypocrisy, conjecture, and unsubstantiated pseudo-facts, it’s dangerous. She hit the trifecta, and struck a nerve…

    By the way, HawkWolf, I wanted to take a look at your site, too, to learn a little more about you before replying to your post. 403 Forbidden. Was it something I said?
    ;o)