If the key to making a good e-car is keeping the size and weight down then the Smart Fortwo - a fine example of what can be achieved with a clean sheet of paper, an open mind and no regard for such bourgeois eccentricities as rear seats or a boot - should make an ideal candidate for electrification. Smart Fortwo iPhone app …
Err, where does the shopping go ?
If the answer is 'on the passenger seat' then its not exactly going to reduce congestion.
Or is the expectation that after taking you to/from work it is knackered for the day so you need a second car to do anything else ?
"Where does the shopping go?"
Assuming you're not buying food for a family of six, the Smart cars *do* have a small boot area behind the seats. The door is split: the glass part can be opened on its own if you just want to drop a few bags in.
If, on the other hand, you *are* buying for a family of six, you'll either already *have* a bigger car with plenty of room in the back, or you're mad.
Plenty of space
...in the boot. Seriously. You can even fit two people sitting in it, although not that comfortably.
I suggest that next time you try looking at a smart car first.
In the boot obviously
Clearly you have never used or owned a Smart .. it has loads of room for shopping and two people and it turns on a six-pence.
It's ideal for Germans, Americans and an increasing number of Brits ...
Or for Smart Arses ...
How to make friends and influence people
The reviewer took a car on a motorway, during rush hour, that wasn't capable of reaching the speed limit? Any measurement of how much the silence of the car was offset by people honking their horn at him? How about the increase in global fuel economy caused by a mobile speed trap in one lane of the motorway?
(I'm sure that most of the time the motorway was crawling anyway - but on the occasions when it wasn't, this was pretty antisocial. One of the worst traffic jams I've ever seen was caused by someone driving a jag with what looked like collapsed suspension at 30mph in the outside lane of the M25 road works; the queue while everyone tried to merge and file past was miles long.)
I know the speed limit is an upper limit, but some of us have places to go, and anyone holding a line of traffic below the speed limit goes straight in my not-favourite-person bin. Unless they had no alternative route or a passenger seat full of eggs, at least.
On the other hand, if the retail version can hit 75, I'm interested. Although not so much as if Gordon Murray's T.27 is affordable.
Trucks are also limited to 60mph.. I've never heard anyone honking at them!
Think before you post!
HGVs are limited to 56mph.
These don't cause the motorways to self destruct (apart from the times they race each other. At least smart cars passing should be a smaller overall distance).
Some people too are comfortable travelling at 60. (ie. Not everybody drives a BMW or Audi doing 90mph+ like their pants are on fire).
Wasn't that long ago it was close to a top speed for a family car, or at least above 60 was too noisy and uncomfortable.
Most urban motorways have 50mph limits anyway.
Regarding the rear, the boot looks small enough for a couple of bags of shopping, if not the weekly shop with dog food and beer crates.
On the Dave Red Dwarf episodes over easter, the starbug car was a smart, and 2 of them managed to squeeze in the back!
Would've been interesting to see in a roadster, but I think the tooling for that was sold off when the Smart company was close to getting wound up!
84 mile range
And your test was under what conditions? January or August? - Cabin heating and air conditioning both need power. Day or night? - Headlamps and taillamps need power. Raining or dry? - Windscreen wipers need power.
Oh, and - it's a 2-seater, right? And you measured the range with... how many people?
Better for heat and cold than some
Which is exactly why the car has the option to run the heat or the AC while you're plugged in and charging. A bit of a waste of energy right now, as it appears (from the review) to be an all or nothing thing, but there was also the note about more advanced management apps coming out in the near future. This would allow you to at least start your day, and possibly come back out from work (if you had a charging startion at work), with the heat or AC having just ran for half an hour FROM THE PLUG - no battery drain needed - at full power. Which is still going to drain more juice when you drive as you try to STAY warm or cool, but compared to the initial hit of warming up or cooling down the cabin, it's actually pretty small. Finally, it's a small cabin - smaller cabins mean less energy spent heating and cooling.
Still, you make a very good point. This isn't going to provide the same range in the dead of winter or the heat of summer that it will in spring or autumn. And the Moors of Scotland will probably do better than, say, Austin, Texas, or Nome, Alaska (will the batteries even /work/ in those conditions?). As always, and no metaphor intended in this case, YMMV.
Still missing the boat
Never mind the cost (well not much) I want to see a car with no drive chain at all. Each wheel is a motor - yes all four. The road handling, traction control and tyre performance of this would be awesome.
Motor at each corner
Trouble with a motor at each corner is that they would need to have identical outputs, or have some sort of balancing mechanism (similar to ESP systems) to throttle back a motor to match the output of the one on the other side.
It was explained to me that this is why twin engined cars never really took off.
There is a difference though
Instead of a highly inefficient fixed mechanical linkage you would have flexible electronic control and feedback system, which would reduce weight and add very little to the cost - indeed overall cost would be lower. No expensive gear system.
Modern motor drive systems are very sophisticated, especially what are called 4 quadrant drives, which can turn a motor in either direction at any required speed. Precise per-wheel torque control is easy.
Am I the only one entertained?
by the model.. Smart Fortwo ED ... where ED is a more commonly known abbreviation for Erectile Dysfunction.. sounds about right!
Smart Car owners don't have any inadequacies that they need to make up for by having a big car.
That was the FIRST thing that came to mind?
Not "ooh, they've crossed a Smart with ED-209" or something along that ROTM vibe? Maybe something about the mascot for Iron Maiden (almost works...)?
Nope, you thought of another man's flaccid penis. Now THAT's comedy. *slow clap* Insecure much?
Apart from on the motorway, pedestrians actually have right of way (in UK), so it is up to you motorists to make sure you don't hit them if they step out into the road without looking. They are there by right, you have to get a licence, insurance, and pay VED (if applicable) for permission to be there.
As for driving this on the motorway, as you said, the speed limit is the limit, you don't have to drive at that speed if you don't want to, just stick to the first lane and you won't be in the way.
For London traffic, this car is probably even too fast, most traffic seems to be in the 10-20 miles per hour range.
@ AC 14:13
So what you're saying is that it needs to be 20% cooler?
What I don't understand is why someone with tons of cash doens't push for battery 'stations' across the UK...
With a standardized sized battery pack, hot-swappable from underneath a car - you could just drive into a station, have some gizmo swop the pack for a fresh one, pay up, and you are on your way.
Why cover the world in sockets to plug cars into when you can just 'convert' petrol stations into battery charging/swapping stations.
1) standards for battery size and fitment
2) crap loads of investment into stations and battery stock.
but then, you have removed the only real problem with them - range. To stop and 'swap batteries' every 100 miles is not that much hassle for anyone if it's cheap and quick.
You would have thought it could be started in a city similarly to LPG stations - and then move out from there.
Look at what Better Place is doing with the Renault Fluence ZE trials, albeit not yet in the UK...
Very difficult to accomplish
Everyone would start creating their own 'standard' battery. If you got around that and got a single standard battery, you'd need it to be modular so that a Tesla could use a multiple of the same batteries as this Smart. That'd lead to a lot of excess bulk (each section would need battery monitoring hardware, a casing that's suitable for massive Lithium batteries, etc).
Then you've got to find the extra space (and this has to happen at several points in somewhere like London or New York or Tokyo) to mount something that's rather larger than a regular garage.
Then there's the storage issue- a mass of lithium cells like that would need to be stored securely- so that's either expensive excavations or even more expensive surrounding land being required for storage. Probably underground as with regular fuel tanks to reduce the footprint of the station and discourage theft.
And then delivery of power / batteries- you'd need either a massive truck to haul around the dead (and still very heavy) batteries or a seriously huge mains hookup. And that hookup needs to be rated to take that extra power right back to the national grid- so if there's one slightly weedier bit of residential wiring in the way you've got to replace all that or risk battery shortages.
What about battery condition monitoring? A year-old battery that's been used daily will have lost a good % of it's capacity- what would you do with those? Keeping it's out of the question- the chances are it'll keep coming back to you until it finally shuts down.
By comparison- with petrol stations, a tanker turns up once a week and empties itself into another tank.
Battery swaps would be a logistical nightmare for public use, though could be a very, very good solution on a residential or corporate scale (where the individual batteries would be relatively small and easily stored).
"... the number of idiot pedestrians who stepped out in front of me over the course of a week beggared belief."
Welcome to the world of the cyclist!
Here is my title. Functional, at best.
If this could come in cheap enough, it'll be ideal for me. Just short enough to squeeze in the garage with the weekend car, and it's only got to contend with a 10 mile round trip commute, apart from 60 miles on weekdays.
Shame it will inevitably cost a lot of money, but get it under £15k, I'd be tempted. Novelty value mostly I expect, it would surely be cheaper and better for the environment to just run the current car. Or get a bus pass, but I'm not that desperate.
But they have to put the steering wheel on the correct side. :-) It will probably cost about 20.000,00 USD. Or about 14.000,00 Pounds. The Gas engine ones are about $16,000.00 in the US.
Is the top speed limited to 62 miles an hour by performance or by some other form of limiter? If the former, is that with the 'boost' active?
Either way, i can see why people are worried about it on motorways - one of these passing a lorry might be quicker than lorry racing, but by the same logic it'll happen more often as it'll gain on more lorrys.
I'm also curious as to how it fares on dual carriageways, where it may have trouble pulling out from any lorries it gets stuck behind?
Four wheeled ...
... coffin, or sardine car. Take your pick.
Been seeing these for a year or so
On the way to work I quite often pass three or four Smart electric vehicles such as these sitting attached to their charging post. Cenex, one of the companies based on the University campus, has been using/testing/etc these from before my office was moved up to the same building that they're based in. Nice looking car and, from what chums of mine who've been lucky enough to have a spin in one say, pretty pleasant to be in as well. If the manufacturer can get the pricing right, this may well be a winner.
What I want to know...
...is how many units of electricity (as measured by the domestic electricity meter) does it require to charge the battery from flat?
It might also be useful to know how many units are required to charge it 10%. Then you might have an idea on how much this thing is typically going to add to your electricity bill when you charge it overnight.
I'd like to get an idea of how much it costs to charge verse filling up the petrol version.
I drive a bright red Kia Carens, not the biggest car but by no means the smallest thing on the road. People fail to see me coming, the number of times I've muttered something under my breath, or full on screamed out of the window.......... Strangely enough, its never those that are visually impaired that are the problem. They seem to use things called crossings, the cane or guide dog is also a good give away (the dog even wears a hi-vis vest). I will also admit that I too may have ran across the road but only after looking to make sure i stand a chance of making it to the other side first.
As a German I want to appologize
This is clearly not a high point of German engineering. Just like Uwe Boll, the car industry simply is our 'black sheep' and there's nothing we can do about it.
Some of the obvious flaws are for example the DRMed computer inside or the air conditioning.
Again, I'm sorry, please wait for the Indians or Chinese to bring out an electric car. The second generation will surely surpass everything we make.