Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Smart? Or Not So Smart?

Well, I got a chuckle when I read a news story today about the new electric Smart Car that's been piloted here in Toronto. Here's the story, then my commentary.

Dawn of the electric Smart Car era:
Bill Tharp was one of the first people in Toronto to get a Mercedes-Benz Smart Car but he’s already making plans to ditch the gas-guzzling two-seater in favour of his new toy.

“We’ll use it for everything,” Tharp said of his latest acquisition — an electric Smart Car he’s now leasing as part of a pilot project with Mercedes and Toronto Hydro.

Tharp — CEO of green tech investment firm Climate Change Infrastructure — is the first to get a crack at one of 17 electric cars that will be available through the four-year program, during which both Hydro and Mercedes will gather information on how well the technology works and how consumers will use it.

Toronto Hydro has already installed a $2,000 charging station in Tharp’s garage where he can power up the car before taking it on his 12-km daily commute.

He said he’ll use his new car for as much of his daily driving as he can, although he’ll still keep the van he uses when he and his wife and three children travel together.

“They get one-on-one time with mom and dad,” Tharp said of the parenting advantages of owning a two-seater. “If we have things we need to discuss, we go to the Smart Car.”

Anyone interested in leasing one of the electrics — they won’t go on sale to the general public until the latter half of 2012 — can sign up at www.smartexperience.ca but the program isn’t for everyone.

The lease itself costs $545 a month for the four-year term and you’ll need somewhere for the charging station, so anyone who only has access to street parking can’t participate.[SNIP]

Okay, that's enough! I can't stop giggling every time I read that. Did anyone else see what I saw? First off calling the smart car a "gas guzzler". I swear, I have seen some mopeds that have bigger gas tanks. Next, did you tally up all the costs for the car? $2,000 for the charging station at home (later on Ontario Hydro says they are covering it at the moment), $545 for a monthly lease, and then later on the battery replacement (they say ten years down the road and there is no cost at the moment). I mean, are they really serious about this? A new Chevy Volt would probably cost less to lease then this electric toaster on wheels. Sure they are just using it to run around Toronto, but still I wouldn't even consider a Smart car to begin with.

Most of these eco-friendly ideas and people that try to do so aren't thinking right. Sure they say that the costs will come down if more and more people buy them. I don't see a huge line up at dealer ships though to purchase any of the new hybrids. I am seeing more of them on the road though. Where more is instead of one a week, more like one a day.

The costs of these electric vehicles is just a pie in the sky solution for what they are driving at (pun intended). All this talk about carbon footprints and being good for the environment is mostly wishful thinking. The cost of creating and driving electric cars is more then regular vehicles. We just don't see the immediate impact like we do with regular internal combustion engines.

But if Mister Tharp wants to go along and believe this stuff, all the power to him. He can obviously afford the lease on this test model Smart car. As for me? I will be lowering my carbon footprint by walking and taking the bus.

Here's a couple of more reasons why I shudder at driving Smart cars....


  1. We're like California North here in Ontario. I moved back from the US and found Canada veered sharply left as I became more conservative.

    Ontario is horribe. I can't imagine raising a large family here with a good amount of my money going to support the immigrants and eco-friendly pipe dreams.

    Canadian Infidel

  2. "Green Tech Investment Firm"

    How is lapping up subsidies and tax break really 'investing'? The only way to make 'Green' energy and tech feasable is to drive up costs for the competition while continuing to fork over untenable subsidies and bailouts......

  3. Will somebody please tell me where the hydro for this 'smart' car comes from? Coal-fired generation? Does that mean they are truly "non-polluting"? The only thing 'smart' about these vehicles is the sellers laughing all the way to the bank on our stupidity

  4. The only smart car in your photos is the yellow one, and its structure is intact. The other 2 images have been debunked as non-smart car photos.

    Do your homework and quit contributing to misconceptions.