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80mpg SmartCar?
Old 06-30-2008, 09:44 AM   #1
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80mpg SmartCar?

Saw this car on PlanetGreen channel, claimed it gets 65mpg city, 80 mpg highway. Makes a lot more sense for such a small car than the ones you read about on the smartcarusa website. Here's another reference to 80mpg FWIW...
Mercedes-Benz Turbocharged Smart Fortwo Gets 80MPG | Green Car .com
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:26 AM   #2
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Yes, with that kind of fuel economy these little "smart" cars make sense. Except for a small number of people who might buy it for the "cuteness" factor, a $15,000 Smart Car that gets less than 40 MPG just doesn't make much sense. It either needs to be a lot cheaper or a lot more efficient to have a real market, IMO.
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:51 AM   #3
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From the article: "They will still get an impressive 40 mpg, but since that's only half as much as the cdi version available in Europe, there clearly will be clamoring to bring the diesel model to American highways."

The Diesel version would be impressive.
Edit Add: weighs 1800 lb
At 40 mpg it is hardly impressive. My 7200 lb suburban gets 12 mpg around town, holds 9 people, 15 to 16 mpg on highway, 10 to 12 towing an Argosy trailer.

If it was small enough to put on a rack like with a motorcycle, it might be useful at destination.

Maybe a good wheel chuck, when the sub is parked, expensive though.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:31 AM   #4
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I don't think they meet US emissions. All this looking to Europe as a model, and apparently, their standards are far lower than US. I have yet to find a good comparison, because their measurements and drive cycle are different. But the gasoline Smart Car supposedly gets such better mileage in Europe versions, it must be the emissions, no?

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Old 06-30-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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I But the gasoline Smart Car supposedly gets such better mileage in Europe versions, it must be the emissions, no?

-ERD50
I can only guess on the emissions issue. Don't know what gasoline formulations they use in EU countries. The US has way too many "boutique" gasoline blends, none of the additives add any useful energy in terms of BTU, which translates to power.

All of these custom blends drive up refining and transportation regional costs. Can't understand the need for the many blends required. I'm also not sure that EU countries are less concerned with emissions.

Unfortunately those who know the specific reasons for the differences in efficiencies of EU vs US model don't talk.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:00 PM   #6
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All of these custom blends drive up refining and transportation regional costs. Can't understand the need for the many blends required. I'm also not sure that EU countries are less concerned with emissions.
What I've read:
Most of the custom US formulation are driven by state or even county emission requirements. They are designed to enhance fuel burning or even to reduce evaporative losses and resulting pollution. These requirements typically result from a very localized condition (e.g a high concentration of vehicles in a valley with poor air exchange, etc). It's a very inefficient way of doing business, and it does drive up or fuel costs a lot.
I don't know much about European emission requirements, but can understand how they might be less stringent than US. Small countries, and any emissions emitted locally quickly become someone else's problem.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:13 PM   #7
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From the GAO-05-421 report, 2005, Page 15 -when combining various grades and blends there are 45 varieties of gasoline sold in the US. And the number of blends may increase in the future.

To me that is absurd.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
From the GAO-05-421 report, 2005, Page 15 -when combining various grades and blends there are 45 varieties of gasoline sold in the US. And the number of blends may increase in the future.

To me that is absurd.
And I wonder what it costs us all?
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
From the GAO-05-421 report, 2005, Page 15 -when combining various grades and blends there are 45 varieties of gasoline sold in the US. And the number of blends may increase in the future.

To me that is absurd.
First, although an ethanol blend does have less total energy than straight gasoline, it sure does not account for a 65mpg rating in Europe vs a 39 mpg rating in the US. There is more to the story.

45 varieties is not too surprising actually - too many, no doubt, but...

The US covers a wide geographical area. Hot, cold, sea level to mountains. Some areas of high local pollution, some not so bad.

Say you have 3 octane ratings, and 5 blends for various reasons - that is 15 blends right there. I'm not a petrol expert, I'm sure there are a few more variables, and a dose of stupidity thrown in as well.

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Old 06-30-2008, 02:44 PM   #10
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Not sure what the Smart company was thinking by not importing the 800cc 3cyl turbo diesel version that gets the 60-80mpg,$18k for a car that small that only gets 40mpgI'll take a Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I don't think they meet US emissions. All this looking to Europe as a model, and apparently, their standards are far lower than US. I have yet to find a good comparison, because their measurements and drive cycle are different. But the gasoline Smart Car supposedly gets such better mileage in Europe versions, it must be the emissions, no?

-ERD50
From what I understand... and I could be wrong... Europe has a stricter emission policy than we have in the US.... the problem is that our diesel is 'crap'.... to much junk in the fuel for their engines to run correctly (sulpher and other stuff). I thought that the 'new' diesel requirements would meet what they have in Europe, but I guess not...

The other problem is the crash tests.... IIRC, they use the offset crashes and we still use a head on into a wall.... some cars that can pass the offset with flying colors for some reason can not pass the head on test.... again IIRC there was a BMW that failed our test, but was supposed to be a really safe car...
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:02 PM   #12
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The other problem is the crash tests.... IIRC, they use the offset crashes and we still use a head on into a wall.... some cars that can pass the offset with flying colors for some reason can not pass the head on test.... again IIRC there was a BMW that failed our test, but was supposed to be a really safe car...
In the US, the "Insurance Institute for Highway Safety" (IIHS, a non-governmental organization) performs the offset crash tests and publishes the results. The US government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does the full-frontal tests. The offset tests are more realistic (that is, there are more accidents of this type than "aligned" head-on collisions) and in general the offset crashes are tougher to pass (since the crash energy has to be disipated safely over far less structure). Vehicles are far more likely to suffer "intrusions" into the passenger compartments during the offset test. About the only way i can think of that a vehicle might pass the offset test yet fail the head-on test is if the vehicle's front structure were too stiff, thus imposing unacceptable decelerations during the full-frontal collisions while allowing a more generous/longer duration "crumple" period in an offset crash. I would imagine this "defect" would be rare.
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
From the GAO-05-421 report, 2005, Page 15 -when combining various grades and blends there are 45 varieties of gasoline sold in the US. And the number of blends may increase in the future.

To me that is absurd.
It depends on why. Some of it is simply the physics. Gasoline sold in Florida is an entirely different product than in Minnesota, except maybe during the winter in FL and the summer in MN might be the same stuff.

Cold weather requires high vapor pressure for easy starting, hot weather with the same stuff will vapor lock and refuse to run.

Admittedly that does not account for 45 varieties though.
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:05 PM   #14
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From what I understand... and I could be wrong... Europe has a stricter emission policy than we have in the US.... the problem is that our diesel is 'crap'.... to much junk in the fuel for their engines to run correctly (sulpher and other stuff).
Quote:

US:
Fuels: United States

Highway Diesel Fuel

* 500 ppm: Sulfur limit of 500 ppm = 0.05% (wt.) became effective in October 1993.

Emission Standards: USA: Cars and Light-Duty Trucks - Tier 2

* Diesel Fuel Quality—Diesel fuel of maximum sulfur level of 15 ppm was made available for highway use beginning in June 2006. The reduction of sulfur content in diesel fuel was legislated by the EPA as a part of the 2007-2010 emission regulation for heavy-duty engines.

Euro:

Emission Standards: Europe: Cars and Light Trucks

Fuels - maximum diesel sulfur content of 350 ppm in 2000 and 50 ppm in 2005. ... “Sulfur-free” diesel and gasoline fuels (≤ 10 ppm S) must be available from 2005, and become mandatory from 2009.
Kinda tough to compare, but it does not look like they have been far ahead of us in sulfur reductions in the recent past. We went from 500 ppm to 15 ppm in 2006; they were at 350 ppM and went to 50 ppM a year earlier than we went to 15 ppM. But then they go to < 10 ppM in 2009...

Would it have helped if we had converted to metric?

I'm still looking for info to compare the emission standards...


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Old 06-30-2008, 10:54 PM   #15
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About the only way i can think of that a vehicle might pass the offset test yet fail the head-on test is if the vehicle's front structure were too stiff, thus imposing unacceptable decelerations during the full-frontal collisions while allowing a more generous/longer duration "crumple" period in an offset crash. I would imagine this "defect" would be rare.

And IIRC you are correct.... this is very fuzzy... but I think it was a M3 or something in that class... there was a cross brace between the front struts... at least that is what BMW said caused the problem... so I guess they were right...
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:39 AM   #16
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The other problem is the crash tests.... IIRC, they use the offset crashes and we still use a head on into a wall.... some cars that can pass the offset with flying colors for some reason can not pass the head on test.... again IIRC there was a BMW that failed our test, but was supposed to be a really safe car...
I tried to rent one of these a few years ago on a trip to Belgium. I only had to drive about 50 miles, from Brussels to Brugges- they wouldn't allow it on the motorway- deemed it too dangerous...makes you wonder how it would fare here against our predominantly larger vehicles. It's a cute little runabout, might be great for running errands around a retirement community (so is a golf cart for a lot less $) but I am not willing to compromise my safety out on the highway for a few mpg. It seems like some people are so focused on fuel efficiency that they don't consider how safe, comfortable, or practical the alternatives are- ie I have noticed a lot of new motorcycles in rush hour traffic these days-hope their organ donor cards are current. For me, the Smart Car is just too small, with too little sheet metal between you and whatever you run into (or runs into you) Don't think it is a viable commuter for anyone who needs to drive any distance. When a few people start getting get squashed in these things, citizen Nader will probably jump in and kill it like the Corvair.

There are probably better commuter alternatives with a better balance of safety and MPG.
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:48 AM   #17
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I tried to rent one of these a few years ago on a trip to Belgium. I only had to drive about 50 miles, from Brussels to Brugges- they wouldn't allow it on the motorway- deemed it too dangerous...makes you wonder how it would fare here against our predominantly larger vehicles.
I've seen them around town, but not on the freeway until Saturday. He was accelerating, I think, to get up to speed after getting on. It was pitiful. Saturday morning so the traffic was light, but if he had tried that on a weekday I think he would have been squashed by some maniac before he ever got to speed.

I'm in the market for a more fuel efficient around-town car, but the SmartCar is not going to get the nod. You have to be able to get out of the way some of the folks around here or you will be an accident stat.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:05 AM   #18
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It depends on why. Some of it is simply the physics. Gasoline sold in Florida is an entirely different product than in Minnesota, except maybe during the winter in FL and the summer in MN might be the same stuff.

Cold weather requires high vapor pressure for easy starting, hot weather with the same stuff will vapor lock and refuse to run.

Admittedly that does not account for 45 varieties though.
Easy starting, vapor lock? Have we always had all these formulations? How did we get by before we had them?
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:39 AM   #19
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For those who might think these arent tough little cars..Smart car crash test
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:51 AM   #20
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How did we get by before we had them?
As I understand it from my dad, back then everyone walked everywhere uphill both ways in the snow and they had to carry their shoes so they wouldn't get worn out.
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