The concept of smart cars was the brainchild of Nicolas Hayek (Co-founder of Swatch Group). He wanted to design unique, environmental-friendly, fuel-efficient small cars that are easy to park. Later, in 1994, he partnered up with Mercedes to make his dream come true.
Hayek, Mercedes and Swatch formed a company name “Smart”. The name is actually an abbreviation of “Swatch”, “Mercedes,” and “Art”. Although the cars were really small and giving good mileage, still after the launch, the sales were not as good as expected. Even there was news about some safety issues.
However, the cars were modified and upgraded to get a fairly safe rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Now you might be thinking, are smart cars really better? Owning a smart car has its advantages and disadvantages. As fuel prices are rising, the demand for smart cars is increasing. On the other hand, some people also found that the cars are extremely costly than their worth.
Smart Cars Key Features
Increasing Smart Vehicles Demand for Rising Fuel Prices
At the beginning of the “Smart” cars venture, the sales were not good. This made Nicolas and Swatch unhappy and they quit their partnership with Mercedes. Daimler-Benz (the partners) took the whole responsibility to design and develop smart cars.
Now, Mercedes has full ownership of Smart cars. They began selling Smart vehicles when the demands were extremely high due to rising oil prices. The venture successfully started in 2008.
If you think this car can save you some bucks of fuel, then a smart car is definitely a better option. If you are thinking about the expense, then you can sell your old or damaged car and use that money to get a ForTwo Smart Car.
ForTwo is the flagship car model of the Smart company. The car is not longer than 8 feet and the width is less than 5 feet. The human carrying capacity of the car is two. Earlier, the car was the smallest car in the UK; that’s why it got the title of the microcar. However, later other electric cars from other companies beat ForTwo in size.
However, still, ForTwo’s size is smaller than other traditional cars. This makes it easy for people to park the car even in a small and parallel parking space. If you are someone who likes smaller cars, then getting a smart car is undoubtedly a better choice.
As per the U.S Environmental Protection Agency or EPA, an old smart car can give a mileage of 32 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city. The number goes slightly high to 38 mpg if someone is driving it on the highways.
Now, if you think about the mileage, then it might seem less if compared to other compact cars that run on gasoline. However, the new ForTwo is a completely electric car. The car is now capable of covering 68 miles (highway/city combined) on a single charge.
Other expensive cars like Nissan Leaf or Toyota Pritus still cannot exceed the number of today’s ForTwos. So, if you need a car that can be a great commute for a short distance in the city, then the smart car is obviously a good option.
Higher Safety Rating
The ForTwo car models have a steel-body frame that looks like a race-car, along with airbags and a high-tech front. Other safety features like Crosswind Assist and an electronic stability program are also present in this car.
So, on a car crash test conducted by IIHS (Independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), the smart car did good and got a five-star safety rating.
However, the small size of the car also carries some disadvantages. As the car is smaller in size, the car is not heavy. This makes the safety score vulnerable, as heavy and large cars are considered safer than small ones.
So, if you are looking for a small and economical car, then you can go for a smart car. However, if safety is the first priority, then it’s better to choose a large car.
As safety is a major concern, analysts believe that the ForTwo cars are expensive than their actual value. The cars have automatic control when it comes to acceleration, anti-lock brakes, cornering control or skid control. However, still, the control is not up-to-the-mark to be that much expensive. The cars are capable of going 80 mph if needed; still, there are some other cars available now that can give a better result in case of mileage or safety concerns.
If you are an eco-conscious person, then you can either go for this car or else buy a hybrid or fully electric car.
As mentioned earlier, that higher fuel price made it easy for smart cars to get sold quickly in the years 2008 and 2009. At that time, U.S distributors were not able to fulfill the high demand completely. The cars were sold at $12,000 or more. Almost 40,000 smart cars were sold at that time period.
However, the demand was not the same as always. In 2018, only 1276 ForTwo cars were sold. The reason behind this is an increased market competition as well as the safety and price concerns of the cars. So, if you are thinking about purchasing a smart vehicle, you need to think about all the advantages and disadvantages altogether.
There is a misconception about smart cars that these are only capable of carrying two people. However, if you wish to get a smart car, then you can choose a model that has seats for four passengers. The “two-seater” cars have enough space even when the car size is small.