Thursday, July 12, 2007

8.6 (feet): my future carbon footprint

Today I test drove the not-yet-available DaimlerChrysler "Smart Fortwo" at the stop their roadshow made in the Wretched Little City. I explained to the pert young lady with the blonde ponytail drawn through the back of her SmartCar baseball cap who sat in the passenger seat and displayed the various features that "I don't need a big car like some guys who need to compensate for their shortcomings". Her lack of reaction let me know that I wasn't the first to trot this out.

The mileage has not yet been set by the government but it should exceed 40 per gallon. (C's Prius does better than that, but costs $7-10 thousand more). An all-electric model is planned, but the staff would not tell me when it would be available, no doubt afraid that some of us will skip the gas-powered one and wait for the plug-in version.

I'm on the waiting list, and I've decided to go with the metallic blue convertible with the black trim. The cab is comfy, not at all claustrophobic, and the car delivered what you'd expect of a 3 cylinder engine: a jaunty oneness with the pavement that made me feel like a character in an animated movie by Pixar. The trunk is big enough for only the two bags that C and I weekly schlep into NYC, but eventually, this car will stay in Fort Lauderdale and we won't need anything more than the subway during the months we spend in New York. Meanwhile, we dream of the many small parking spaces on the streets of the Upper West Side that will become doable.


Anonymous said...

Please be extra careful driving this little car. I like the idea of this, but can't wrap my head around the whole safety issue. Seems to me that this affords little more protection than "I promise to pull out before I come." Did the humorless salesperson address the safety of this vehicle? Having lived in South Florida for a number of years, we can both attest to the poor driving of its elder citizens (driving large heavy cars), and it's booze, coke , and hormone impaired younger drivers.

Sorry for the granny routine but I need you to live long enough to publish those novels you've been meaning to write. E-mail me an address I can ship the two crash helmets to. :)

evilganome said...

I've been very excited by the Smartcar for a couple of years now. I saw one with Canadian plates here in Boston. Really a much more sensible solution for the city than SUV's. But since when have Americans ever been accused of being sensible? None the less, very cool little car!

Tony Adams said...

Dear Tater,
There is a sort of steel cage surrounding the cab. This is supposed to ensure safety in the event of collision. I know what you mean about southern Florida drivers. Just taking my bicycle outdoors is a terrifying proposition. Even when there's a marked bike lane, they treat you like a target on the midway.

Anonymous said...

check out the youtube link below for a great description of how the passenger cell works in a crash test.

Moral of the story - try to avoid running into concrete at 70mph. And just in case, wear your seatbelt.

ps - is the smart sold with a diesel engine in the US?

Anonymous said...

Well good. I can breath a little easier now. Riding a bike, or being a pedestrian are both hazardous to your health in Florida. Good friends of ours were simply trying to cross the street on foot in South Beach, had the walk sign, and a disturbed young man hit them with his car. When he saw them hobble to the side and make note of his license number, he got out and assaulted them with a steel pipe. Never caught the guy. *shiver*

Enough of the horror stories though. I hope you will post more about this car as you acclimate to it. It is very cool looking, and I love the idea of easy parking, not to mention gas savings.

Tony Adams said...

Dear anonymous, the staff at the road show told me that a diesel version is planned for the USA model but they said they could not disclose the time for that or for the electric model.

Population One said...

Ah, it's so cute. I just want to pick it up and put it in my ... pocket.

BigAssBelle said...

isn't that cute? i've seen a few cars around here that look something like it. must not be, if it's not come out yet.

i love my cooper mini, but long for it to be a drop top. i saw this:

at the gym last night and almost wet myself.

tornwordo said...

So interesting that those have been here for years already but still not sold in the US. When our friend had one, I found the cab totally roomy - and I'm a tall guy! The parking space edge makes this so worth it.