last saturday I was part of a group of bloggers that attended a brand workshop for the smart car brand, or plainly SMART. this being my first event like this I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was looking forward to it non the less as it was clear that we would get the possibility to have a drive with the new and coming smart for two electric drive.
electric cars, besides being the new black and environmentally more aware and all, are just a good concept for me as a gearhead. as for the electric smart for two check out the video a bit further below. the event itself was held in a part of the quite famous zeche zollverein in essen, germany and was very nicely and well organized and prepared.
I always like to meet knew and interesting people and not only was that the case, they were all very friendly and nice. bloggers and “smart” guys alike. a few familiar faces in the form of malte christensen aka kopfbunt, markus reuter aka roitsch and alexander olma form the iphoneblog were there also, which obviously made it an even more fun event.
it is always nice to see big companies go with the times and evolve not only their products, but also the way they handle things with the public. bloggers being taken more seriously, is a big step in my opinion and shows that the company makes an effort. sure there are always different sides to a story. big companies can’t just bring change internally from one day to the other, but also is it important to push for it as much as possible in my opinion.
smart seems to have understood. and obviously not only this one level. I am not a fan of hybrid cars, as I think they are a waste of effort and money, as they just calm your conscience and don’t really do much. electric cars on the other hand have a much better starting point. as I already said the environmental side of the electric cars is for me personally a nice side effect, also that they are so silent and how that alone could change the living quality of wherever we live. much more interesting to me though is the way they drive, they do not shift and just go… on and on. sure there are limits. in speed, distance and maybe even versatility, but that is a point we can only see in time while using them long term. the ride in the smart for two electric drive was a very smooth one and with no need to shift and no shifting sensation driving became a more relaxing experience. it might be just me, but I think this could be a very important factor also. making traffic safer… well besides the point that a lot of people have regarding the silence of the electric car. you could obviously give the cars artificial engine sounds, but I think if the awareness of the people shifts a bit, that wont be necessary and we could actually enjoy a more silent surrounding.
after the electric drive I took a regular smart for two out for a spin. the organizes had laid out a nice route for us around essen and set it already up in the navigation system of the car, so we basically went for a little sightseeing tour which ended in the smart division of car tuner brabus.
the drive was very nice and I am actually impressed by this little car. I would not go so far and say it is a car for long drives but within a limited area like a city etc. it might be the perfect car for a lot of people. the only grudge I have with the non electric version of the car really is the transmission though. I understand that this type of transmission is a bit easier and all, but a full automatic transmission or a full manual would make a better experience for me. the shifting is now smooth enough most of the time to really enjoy it too much. and I would and could shit much more smoothly with a stickshift. and so does the automatic transmission in most other cars I drove so far in my life.
also do I think that a manual transmission should be an option for the higher performance models by smart and brabus as the transmission really cant keep up with the higher power and will make a real sporty experience not possible. just imagine how much fun you could have with one of these on a racetrack if it just had a manual transmission. it also pushes a bit over the front tires if driven a bit faster in the corners, but the understeer could be managed with a bit of tweaking I am sure. oh and that just happened with the brabus for me.
brabus does and excellent job in tuning the smart and besides the great quality they offer a seemingly endless variety of options. quite literally. ideas and options you would normally just know from car companies like bentley etc. and I say bentley and not brabus as you can order any kind of modification at any of your smart dealers directly. the smart brand, under the mercedes house, has an official cooperation with the smart division of brabus exactly for that. the example they brought up was you could bring your favorite handbag with you and they would match the cars interior and or exterior color to it, but it goes much further than that. and the best part is that the prices for all that are in relation to the smarts own regular price, so you wont end up paying 100k for a car that just cost you 15.000.-€.
and here are we at a point I wasn’t aware about. the smarts starting price is here in germany at 9.990.- euros, which is very ok for the car. another and even more important thing I did not know and that smart really needs to communicate more is that the smart for two really is a very safe car. the tridion “safety cell” really is the main point here and it has a crash zone and all the things you want and get very high safety ratings. I really didn’t know that. and most people I know did not either.
either way, I had a wonderful day, learned a lot about the smart for two, its electric brother and the company that surprised me in a very positive way. and really, if the transmission was a bit different on the non electrical models, I might be quite tempted to get one for the city.
one also very good thing we were presented with was the car2go project that started in ulm, germany and is now testing in austin, texas. its nice carsharing idea and system unlike any of the others out there and I can really see it take off. check out the site for more infos. I hope they come to cologne at some point soon.
thanks to the organizers and all the great people I met there and had great talks with! till the next time we meet.