The introduction of the Smart car to our roadways is a revolutionary way to save us from the purgatory of rising gas prices. Also referred to as the intelligent car in European terms, the Smart car came about from the partnership of DaimlerChrysler and Nicolas Hayek, the man who invented Swatch watches. Realizing their ideologies in making a car that is small in size but big on economy, together they built their first Smart car in 1997. The term Smart was coined from the combination of Swatch, Mercedes and the word “art.”
The Smart Fortwo, originally called the Smart City Coupe, was first introduced in 1998 at the Paris Motor Show. It has its engines in the rear, and the term “Fortwo” is derived because it can accommodate two people in the vehicle. There are three different Fortwo models available: the Pure, Pulse and the Passion. These models come with decent 61-horsepower engines. The Pure and the Pulse come in with an automated manual transmission without the use of a clutch pedal. It is equipped with a Softip transmission system with which the driver taps the tip of the shift lever to change gears. The Passion is the only model with an automatic transmission.
Due to its small stature, the Smart car is feared to be a dangerous car to drive considering the sizes of other cars on the roads. This is the reason Smart designed the Fortwo with an amazing defense system through the use of the Tridion steel safety shell, which provides an additional impact-absorbing defense mechanism. Such being the case, the engine needs to be put at the rear. The best part about the build of this car is that the manufacturer considered using recyclable and replaceable body kit panels, making the car easily customizable.
Smart also produced its line of four-seaters through the Smart Forfours and the Smart Roadster, but due to very low sales, Smart ended their production. Due to the simple styles of the Smart Fortwo lines, they opened up a new partnership with Mercedes to consider adding more body kit designs to the Smart car through the Smart BRABUS edition. Although still at two-seat capacity, the additional weight of its interiors and body kit designs made this car a bit slower than other Fortwo models.
With the steep competition among car manufacturers, Smart came up with the development of the microhybrid Fortwo versions. This provides fuel efficiency boosts of 55 miles per gallon from its original 50 miles per gallon consumption.
Recent research and development of Smart cars centers on the production of all-electric Fortwo models. Trials began in London in 2007, and the vehicle continues to be given ample spotlight in the revolution of the smart car industry.
Since Smart car manufacturing focuses on its second generation models, advancements in some features and performance can be seen. From its original length of 250 cm, the current model is now at 269 cm, heeding user suggestions to add more space to the car.