Coming to a tight parking spot near you!

How about a car whose length is just a little longer than a Hummer is wide? How about being able to park two cars in a single parallel parking spot, by pulling into the space with the nose of the car against the curb? That’s the Smart Car; a somewhat common car on the streets of Europe that may be coming to the U.S. in 2007.

Image from Wikipedia

Some quotes from a Business Week Europe article:

Smart has lost around $5 billion since it was launched in 1998 as a joint venture with watchmaker Swatch.

The car is is best known for being so small that European drivers often park nose-to-curb, also squeezing the five-foot wide vehicles into the sort of odd and improbably tight spaces that make U.S. tourists stop and stare. The current version contains an 800cc three-cylinder diesel engine that can hit speeds of 135 kilometers per hour and consumes 4.7 liters per 100 kilometers in city driving and 3.6 liters per 100 kilometers on highways.

3.6 liters per 100 km is about 66 miles per gallon (Europeans express mileage as how many liters are consumed per 100 km, not as kilometers per liter).

They’re cute. They appeal to my desire to be non-consumptive. But is it “smart” to drive one of these in the land of Hummers and SUVs? (And being that they only seat two, I won’t be driving a Smart Car here in the land of Dacias and Trabants any time soon).

Grace and Peace

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