Sometime next year, Chevrolet will introduce the smallest car it’s ever sold in the United States. Classified as a “minicar,” the 2013 Chevrolet Spark will go head to head against the likes of the Fiat 500, the Smart Fortwo and the Scion iQ. It will likely be powered by a 1.2-liter engine, also the smallest ever offered in a Chevy product in the United States, mated to either a five-speed manual or a four speed automatic transmission. The Spark’s size may make it nimble (and easy to park), but it won’t make it quick: expect a zero to sixty run in the neighborhood of 12 seconds with the five speed, even longer with the four speed automatic. Read More…
Last week we brought you the first of four short films that BMW is releasing as part of a documentary series about The Future of Mobility. Part I talked about how the residents of our new mega cities (populations of 15 million or more) will have to adapt to smaller living quarters, vehicles and lifestyles that are somewhat scaled down from what most of us experience today. Some people believe this is a good thing and a way to be more efficient, which at the end of the day it probably is. What I want to know however, is where is the line drawn between ultra efficiency and quality of life?
Part II of the series takes us to a society, that according to old science fiction, was going to be filled with flying cars, teleportation and mobile jet packs. The truth of the matter is though that we human beings are still using the same methods of transportation that we used 80 years ago. Planes, trains and automobiles still operate essentially the same way they did all those years ago and while the technology has changed, our basic modes of movement are exactly the same. So what are your thoughts, how do you think we will be getting around in the future?
Can’t get enough of the obscenely cute Fiat 500? Want to put one in your garage as soon as possible? There’s good news from Fiat/Chrysler: the diminutive urban commuter will start at just $15,500, for the base trim level (called “Pop”) with no options and no dealership “ADM”, which won’t be easy to find given the interest in the 500. The mid-level trim package is called “Sport”, and this comes with a stiffer suspension, 16” alloy wheels, performance exhaust and revised front and rear fascias. Sport versions start at $17,500 before you add options (and dealer price gouging). At the upper end is the Fiat 500 Lounge, which focuses on luxury and amenities and starts at $19,500. If you go crazy checking option boxes, it’s not difficult to get a Fiat 500 Lounge over $24,000; that’s a little steep for an urban commuter car, but it’s still less than a well optioned Mini.
Now this is something that makes sense. Smart, the maker of the itty bitty ForTwo micro-car is now said to be delving into the world of two wheels with the upcoming E-Scooter concept. The E-Scooter is said to be powered by a lithium-ion battery that will give the little scoot a range of up to 62 zero-emission miles, while at the same time providing its riders with some new innovative safety features. The E-Scooter was developed with some help from Mercedes-Benz, and with an electric motor integrated into the rear wheel and zero emissions, the E-Scooter (if made into a production ride) will most likely become a favorite amongst those in urban environments.
Gordon Murray designed the legendary McLaren F1. This is his latest creation, a tiny city car with center seating and a slick tilting canopy that swings up to allow entry and egress. A performance car it is not. The T.25 has a wee inline three cylinder with just 51 horsepower and the trip to 62 miles per hour (100 kph) takes an excruciating 16 seconds. But the 1,200-pound welterweight gets almost 62 miles per gallon and seats three—the pilot sits front and center while the passengers sit behind and to the side. I think it’s a slick little ride, despite its dreadful performance. And I can’t wait for it to go into production so someone can drop a Hayabusa engine into it. Hit the jump for more photos and a big giant press release.
Tired of his Smart being called a “chick car”, Don made a few mods to make his more manly.
Found on That Will Buff Out
It’s hard to imagine profitability for an automaker in a $2,500.00 car, yet Renault is determined to produce a rival to Tata’s Nano. A huge success in their native India, Tata Nanos sell for the equivalent of $2,100, making them the least expensive new car option in a country with an exploding driver population.
Nissan will be working with the Bajaj Group to produce and distribute their microcar, targeted to sell at a price point of $2,500. Bajaj is best known as a manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, and (based on volume) is the world’s fourth largest producer of two-wheeled vehicles. A partnership like this makes good sense for Renault, as it gives them access to inexpensive and fuel efficient motors while simultaneously broadening their distribution network. Renault’s goal is to produce a microcar that gets 70 miles per gallon and emits just 100 grams / kilometer of CO2.
The initial track testing phase of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize vehicles has begun at Michigan International Speedway. This video, courtesy of Consumer Reports, gives a good overview of what the competition is all about. Unfortunately, there isn’t all that much footage of cars testing, but some things are clear: the Aptera may be fuel efficient, but it doesn’t handle worth a damn and the Tango (the extremely narrow orange car in the video) really can back its claim of a four second zero to sixty time.
On the heels of the patent drawings that leaked yesterday depicting the new Nissan Micra, Nissan has announced a new model will hit the U.S. lineup in 2010 that will sit below the compact Nissan Versa. While Nissan has not explicitly confirmed the mysterious new micro compact will be the revised version of the Micra spotted yesterday, they have said that it will be built atop the new V-platform which, coincidentally, is scheduled to make its first debut underpinning the Micra’s next-gen European successor. Read More…