Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Universal City Gets "smart"

What's So Smart About The "smart" Car? - The name "smart" came from a combination of Swatch (the orininal designer), Mercedes (the manufacturer) and the word "art." The company also markets the cars with the brand and model name in lowercase to emphasize their small size. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2008, The EDJE

Universal City Gets “smart”

Last month saw the launching of the invasion by Mercedes Car Group, a Daimler AG Company of the “smart” Car here in Los Angeles. In a space that was once the longtime house of fashion for designer, Lane Davies, located on Lankershim Boulevard just North of Universal City, the smart Car has moved in and ready to become your personal scoot-about-town transportation device.

An idea that got its start a little over a decade ago (EDJE first caught sight of a Hugo Boss logo-painted smart Car while walking through a "Rodeo Drive" type section of Amsterdam), the smart Car was supposed to be a place where designer fashion meets affordable efficiency in short hop transportation. It’s small, cute, conservative on fuel, environmentally responsible, and easy to park in small spaces.

>>smart Car fortwo - The base pure model comes standard with convenience features such as a 5-speed automated manual transmission with manual or automatic mode, central remote locking system, 2-spoke leather steering wheel, radio-ready console, and more. Air conditioning, power windows and alloy wheels are optional. Caption Credit: smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - 2008, The EDJE

With the size of the smart Car being only 8 feet, 2.5 inches long, less than 5 feet wide and about 5 feet tall, one can imagine that it would be easy for three smart Cars to park curbside where the typical stretch limousine once took up space.

smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group, is the exclusive distributor for smart in North America and Puerto Rico. smart USA is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. smart center Universal City is located at 4227 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91603 – Contact Ken Crossman - (818) 762-7875

Good things come in small packages and the smart fortwo is no exception. Each model’s revolutionary design conveys innovation, functionality and joy of life. Caption & Image Credit: smart USA, a division of Penske Automotive Group

This excerpted from How Stuff Works -

How the Smart Car Works
Ed Grabianowski – How Stuff Works – March 11, 2008

gas prices at historic highs in the United States and fuel-efficient cars in vog­ue, the time might be perfect for DaimlerChrysler to introduce the Smart Car to U.S. markets. Al­ready popular in Europe, the Smart Car is small in stature but big on economy. The updated Smart Fortwo (named because it's "for two" people) is ready for release in 2008, so we could be seeing a lot more Smart Cars on the road in the near future.

The Smart Car began with Nicolas Hayek, the man who invented Swatch watches.
The Swatch Company collaborated with Daimler-Benz (after a failed venture with Volkswagen) to create the first City Coupe under the company name Micro Compact Car (MCC).

Development began in 1994, and the first car was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997. The MCC went on sale the following year, but Hayek was disappointed with the use of a conventional
engine -- he'd wanted a hybrid or pure electric motor -- and the price of the car, which was higher than expected.

When initial sales were slow, Swatch pulled out of the partnership, leaving Daimler-Benz (now DaimlerChrysler) full owner of the Smart division. Today, Smart is part of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes group.
One of the major problems with very small, light automobiles is that they can be unsafe in a collision. The Smart solution is the Tridion steel safety shell. Image Credit: ©1998-2006 DaimlerChrysler via How Stuff Works

The Smart solution is the Tridion steel safety shell. This hemispherical steel "cage" encloses the interior of the car and also forms the bulk of the Smart's chassis. A small energy-absorbing crumple zone at the front of the car lessens impacts, and the engine lives in the trunk of the car instead of the front.

While a 1,500-lb. car will never be as safe for the occupants as a larger vehicle, the Tridion shell holds up remarkably well in
crash tests. A 70 mph crash test conducted by British TV show "Top Gear" revealed that the Smart Fortwo's body remained mostly intact when compared to that of a conventional subcompact car.
Both the 50- and 61-hp engines are three cylinder engines, with cooled
turbochargers. According to Smart, the 61-hp engine can go from zero to 60 mph in about 15 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 84 mph for the driver's safety (cars as small and light as the Fortwo become very unstable at high speeds).

In city driving, the Fortwo gets a reported 46.3 mpg, while highway driving is an even more impressive 68.9 mpg. The 50-hp engine accelerates more slowly, but the electronic speed limit is the same, and the mpg ratings are the same as well.
Reference Here>>

Overall, the smart Car has style, size, and the Mercedes glow working for it, but this IS Los Angeles where Freeways function as Boulevards, Boulevards are Streets, Streets are Avenues, Avenues are Alleys … and Alleys are NOT any place one wants to be if one is, well, smart, especially in a “smart”.

Please excuse me for now, I need to get to the corner 76 Station … I need to fill up my Tahoe (at nearly $4.00 a gallon), get to the Ralph’s strip shopping center (one mile away), battle for the closest COMPACT labeled & stripped parking space because I am just dying for a Starbuck’s Grande blend of the day.

While I’m at it, I’ll go online and post this story up at Blogger.

… notes from The EDJE

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