Epic Life Hack - German Man Uses Smartcars to Stop People From Parking Near His Driveway
If you’ve ever heard of the expression “First World problems,” you’ll be thinking a lot about it once you’re done with this doozy of a story. A German man who lives in the affluent neighborhood of Oberkassel in Germany had a problem with people parking too close to his driveway. To address that problem, he decided to buy a pair of smart ForTwos and parked them on either side of the driveway. It’s probably one of the most expensive ways to mark your territory, but the man did it anyway because he could.
According to German news site RP Online the ForTwos have been on guard duty for three years now. The man’s neighbors even say that two city cars have left their spots only once since they set up shop there back in 2015, presumably to renew their registration or get serviced for being idle too long.
As for the man’s reasons? Apparently, his problem wasn’t about having his driveway blocked by cars or having cars parked (legally) on either side of his driveway. He just wants the entire space for himself because he wanted as much room to comfortably enter and leave his driveway with what neighbors say is an SUV. That’s it. That’s his reason.
To make this story more interesting, his ForTwo bookend strategy is reportedly legal under Dusseldorf’s traffic laws. According to the city’s Traffic Management Office, the ForTwos can stay parked where they are as long as they can be driven away if needed.
It’s hard to say if the man is crazy or a genius for marking his own territory this way. Perhaps it’s even a combination of both. Either way, this is one instance where the expression “First World problems” definitely applies.
2017 Brabus Ultimate E Concept
In the 23 years that it’s been around, Smart has become a staple in urban cities, fulfilling its mission of being a purveyor of affordable compact cars. But like most car brands, Smart has a sporty and aggressive alter ego, though one that we rarely get to see. It just so happened that one such example was presented at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show by noted tuner Brabus. It’s called the Brabus Ultimate E Concept, and it’s an absolute humdinger.
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. “It’s a Smart ForTwo. ‘Humdinger’ isn’t exactly the kind of word I’d use to describe it.” You’d be right about that, but you’d also be wrong in assuming that the Ultimate E Concept is nothing more than a dressed up ForTwo wearing a Brabus kit. It’s way more than what it appears to be, and we have Brabus and its partner-in-crime in this project, Kreisel Electric, to thank for that. This concept – it really shouldn’t be a concept – represents the pinnacle of what the Smart ForTwo can become if it adopts new technologies and embraces its inner id in the process. Think a 200-horsepower Smart ForTwo is still the stuff of dreams and fantasies? Think again. Smart has come a long way since it started in 1994. I can’t tell for certain if the Brabus Ultimate E Concept is the future, but if it is, then that future just became mighty exciting.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Brabus Goes Electric With The Ultimate E Concept
You know the electric revolution in the auto industry is looking more and more like a real thing when aftermarket tuners, usually the last defenders of traditional gas-powered engines, start to slowly embrace the prospect of tuning electric cars. Brabus isn’t quite there yet, but one of its offerings for the Frankfurt Motor Show points exactly to that kind of future. The model is called the Brabus Ultimate E Concept, and while it does take its roots from the smart ForTwo, this creation is more about what the tuner can do moving forward more than it is a showcase of smart’s expanding portfolio.
To be fair, there are a number of interesting items in the Ultimate E Concept. It’s all dressed up in a swath of fancy aero bits, making it look a lot more dynamic than a run-of-the-mill ForTwo. It even has an eye-catching yellow paint that a Mercedes-AMG GT R would be proud to wear. The real highlight of the concept though is its drivetrain. Don’t go looking for a combustion engine in there because it’s long gone. In its place is a full electric powertrain that Brabus developed in collaboration with Kreisel Electric. The result is a car that can produce 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the most powerful versions of the smart ForTwo in the world. For a car that’s never been considered exciting, the Brabus’ Ultimate E Concept looks to be one way to inject some life into the little ride.
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2017 Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept
Given how rapid the advancements are in smart mobility, it figures that it would only be a matter of time before more and more automakers begin showcasing their cars of the future. We’ve already seen a handful of concepts in the past year, and now Smart is joining the fray with the presentation of the Vision EQ Fortwo Concept.
The Vision EQ Fortwo Concept is, for all intents and purposes, a showcase of the company’s interpretation for the future of car sharing services. It’s not meant to be a personal vehicle so any influence in that regard has been put on the shelves in favor of pushing for advancements in car sharing technology. The results are what you’d expect it to be as the Vision EQ Fortwo Concept really is unlike any concept that smart has introduced in years. It still takes the shape of a concept Fortwo, but in the case of this vehicle, the devil really is in the details, as you will see in the section below. For now, there aren’t any plans to bring the concept up to production, so don’t expect it to suddenly show up at your front door waiting to pick you up. This concept is a preview of a potential future where technologies in car sharing, electrification, and smart mobility all come together as one. If the Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept doesn’t get you excited for that kind of future, there’s little reason to expect anything else that will.
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2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio Brabus Edition #2
The third-generation Smart ForTwo came to be in 2014, when the German firm unveiled a completely redesigned city car with underpinnings borrowed from the Renault Twingo. For 2017, Smart introduced a new version of the higher performance ForTwo developed by long-time Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus. A couple of special-edition models followed and Smart is now launching the ForTwo Cabrio Brabus Edition #2 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Essentially a limited-edition model featuring an extensive line of equipment and appointments, the Edition #2 is arguably the most bespoke ForTwo Cabrio to date. Not only offered in unique color combinations inside and out, the Edition #2 is also packed with standard features, including no fewer than four distinct packages.
Set to go on sale in March 2017, the Cabrio Brabus Edition #2 will be showcased at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the ForFour Crosstown Edition. There’s no word whether the Edition #2 will make it Stateside, but until we find out more, let’s have a closer look at this fancy little city car.
Continue reading to learn more about the Smart Fortwo Cabrio Brabus Edition #2.
2017 Smart ForFour Crosstown Edition
Am I the only one who thinks that there’s something redeemable about the Smart ForFour? The four-door compact car hasn’t been as well-received as Smart would’ve liked, but it still has some qualities about it that make it an appealing choice for urban-goers. Say what you will about the ForFour, but you can’t deny that it has enough merits to warrant a special edition model, which is exactly what we’ll be getting when Smart brings the ForFour Crosstown Edition at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.
I get the skepticism about the car; I really do. I get it that people think that it’s still too small for their liking. I get it that it’s still hilariously underpowered. I even get it that the car hasn’t changed much since the second-generation model was launched in 2014. All fair points, but give credit to Smart for not only soldiering on with the ForFour, but for also doubling down on it with the Crosstown Edition.
As you can expect, the special edition ForFour features a wide range of enhancements and packages, all of which were added to give the ForFour an exclusive look to it that the model rarely gets. Think of the ForFour Crosstown Edition then as a Smart catalog on four wheels that’s meant to showcase a lot of the equipment and appointments that usually come as added options on standard models.
The special edition ForFour doesn’t have any engine enhancements, so don’t expect anything in that regard. But there are some notable features elsewhere around the car, and in the absence of anything exciting happening under its modest hood, Smart makes up for it with some interesting upgrades both inside and outside of the ForFour Crosstown Edition.
So give it a look. You might end up liking it.
Continue reading to learn more about the Smart ForFour Crosstown Edition
2017 Brabus Smart Fortwo By Veronika Heilbrunner
God bless Smart. The Daimler-owned automaker has struggled to turn any kind of consistent profits for its parent company in the 23 years that it’s been around so it is reasonable to ask if Daimler would be better off cutting the cord on the beleaguered microcar brand. But that’s a separate topic for another time because this is all about the latest special edition Smart ForTwo that’s designed by fashion stylist Veronika Heilbrunner and worked on by noted Mercedes aftermarket tuner Brabus. It officially goes by the name “Brabus Smart Fortwo by Veronika Heilbrunner” and it was created to showcase the smart Brabus tailor made program and the “seemingly endless possibilities” that the program offers in terms of individualization.
As you can expect, the Brabus Smart Fortwo by Veronika Heilbrunner is filled to the brim with personalized touches from the brilliant design mind of Heilbrunner. It comes with fancy colors, bespoke amenities, and the traditional vanity embellishments that are typical of a personalized car. In other words, the special edition ForTwo is a four-wheeled representation of Heilbrunner that was showcased under smart’s new personalization program with Brabus.
The showpiece ForTwo is a one-off (no surprise there), but owners of the two-door micro car have the opportunity to create an exact replica of the Brabus Smart Fortwo by Veronika Heilbrunner, all thanks to the personalization program and the myriad of options it has in its catalog.
And for what it’s worth, having Heilbrunner serve as the face of the program is a good move by Smart to get people talking about the brand. The German fashion icon is regarded as one of the faces of modern street styling and has proven to have immense influence in the fashion world as the fashion director of online magazine “hey woman!” Vogue even refers to her as the world’s “most influential street style icons.”
Continue after the jump for read more about the Brabus Smart Fortwo by Veronika Heilbrunner.
2016 Smart ForTwo NYPD Edition
In 2014, Smart decided that the second-generation ForTwo had spent too many years on the market and launched the much-improved, third-generation model. Redesigned from the ground up with help from French automaker Renault, the new ForTwo is a significant departure from its predecessor in terms of design, technology, and drivetrains. Under the hood, the tiny city car continues to use small-displacement, three-cylinder engines, but ditched the previous powerplants in favor of two new units from Renault. It also received a manual transmission for the first time. As far as lineup diversity goes, the ForTwo spawned the usual convertible, Brabus, and all-electric versions.
In 2016, the small German automobile made its debut as a police car for the New York Police Department. The largest municipal police force in the United States ordered no fewer than 250 ForTwos as a replacement for the three-wheel motorbikes it previously used in the city. A welcome decision among policemen, who now benefit from all-weather protection and air conditioning. Currently using around 9,000 vehicles, the New York Police Department quoted the car’s agility and reliability in its decision to turn the 106-inch-long ForTwo into a patrol car.
"The smart is spacious and agile and makes my job much easier. Many people say that the little patrol cars are really cute, too," said Officer Ralph Jefferson, the first policeman to take the ForTwo on patrol duty around Chinatown.
Needless to say, it looks like the days when the NYPD used large vehicles such as the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in the city are long gone. But, this isn’t the first time small cars are preferred in crowded neighborhoods. Back in the 1950s, various police departments around the U.S. acquired Nash Metropolitan economy cars for police duty. At only 149.5 inches long, the Metropolitan was one of the smallest vehicles on American roads and pretty much a Smart ForTwo among the very large cars produced by Detroit.
The ForTwo joins vehicles such as the Ford Taurus, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Ford Explorer in the NYPD fleet.
Continue reading to learn more about the Smart ForTwo NYPD Edition.
2017 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
The third-generation Smart ForTwo arrived in 2014 with significant changes over its predecessor. Co-developed with French carmaker Renault, it received a more traditional exterior design with a longer front hood, a revamped interior, and three new engines. Much like its predecessor, it also spawned a convertible and AMG version, and at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Smart unveiled an all-electric variant.
Called the ForTwo Electric Drive (or ED), the emission-free car uses a brand-new electric drivetrain with enhanced output and increased range. For the first time, the electric motor is also offered in the convertible versions, making the ForTwo the only electric cabriolet on the market. What’s more, because the same drivetrain is also available in the larger ForFour model, Smart is the only car manufacturer to offer its entire model range with both combustion engines and battery-electric drive. Not that it would be difficult having just two vehicles, but it’s still a noteworthy achievement.
The new ForTwo Electric Drive will arrive in the United States in 2017. The coupe version will debut in the spring, while the cabriolet model will hit dealerships in the summer. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the smallest EV on the market and how it stacks up compared to its predecessor and main competitors.
Continue reading to learn more about the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.
Daimler has Tesla in its Crosshairs with "at least" Six Electric Cars
Mercedes-Benz’s plans to build four electric cars by 2020 is well-documented. But a new report indicates that the German automaker’s parent company, Daimler, has a far bigger and more ambitious plan to release at least six and as many as nine electric cars.
Daimler’s goal is apparently aimed at taking the electric car fight to Tesla and Audi, two carmakers that have already made significant pushes in the EV market. Tesla, in particular, appears to be at the heart of Daimler’s motivation as the American-based electric car company has been largely unchallenged in the premium EV market. Specific details on what Daimler’s plans are still unclear, but Reuters suggests that the German conglomerate plans to release all these EV models between 2018 and 2024.
Taking past rumors into account, at least four of these models will likely be Mercedes models. Board of Managers member and R&D chief Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber also mentioned in May 2016 that the current C-Class, S-Class, GLA-Class, and GLC-Class will serve as the templates for the EV models that Daimler is planning for its main brand. Should these templates eventually be used, one of these SUVs is reportedly getting a plug-in hybrid engine that can also tap into a hydrogen fuel cell once its 30-mile EV range dries up.
Add up the numbers and it’s possible that Daimler is also planning to roll out electric vehicles for its other brands with the possibility that one of them will be an EV version of the Sprinter version. Is it possible then that Daimler is also targeting all-electric versions for its fleet of trucks and buses?
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
2017 Smart Fortwo Sport Package by Brabus
The Smart Fortwo is a funky little city car that has a rear-mounted engine, two seats, and a hatch. To put it simply, it’s nothing more than a cockpit on wheels, but in busy, crowded cities, the car is perfect for those who can manage to fit in it. Originally introduced in 1998, the car has seen two generational changes with the most recent coming in the 2014 model year. For 2016, Smart introduced the convertible or Cabriolet variant that ditched the rear hatch for a retractable top. For the most part, the Fortwo is a pretty simple car. It is available with two different three-cylinder engines that deliver between 71 and 90 horses and can be equipped with a five-speed manual or a dual clutch automatic.
For such a tiny car, the interior is actually rather spacious, and it has a certain level of luxury too. Now, with the 2017 model year right around the corner, Brabus is offering a new Sport package for the Fortwo Coupe and Cabriolet that promises to bring a new level of customization to Smart customers everywhere. It is said to bring “unique styling and a sportier driving experience,” but it is a micro city car, so I’m not really sure I’m comfortable using words like “sport” in that context.
Of course, I’m pretty critical about what automakers and do to their vehicles, so before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s take a good look at this new sport package and what it brings to the table.
Keep reading to learn about Brabus’ new Sport package for the 2017 Smart Fortwo
2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet
Smart took the automotive world by surprise when it unveiled the ForTwo Cabrio at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show. A year later, the Germans launched the smallest production cabriolet, taking the micro car industry into a new era. It’s been 15 years since then and Smart has revealed the third-generation ForTwo Cabrio, which is set to break cover officially at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Based on the third-gen 2015 Smart ForTwo we already saw in 2014, the ForTwo Cabrio has been redesigned from the ground up. The styling is all-new inside and out, the chassis has been rebuilt for greater comfort, while the drivetrains are both more powerful and fuel-efficient.
"Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for", said Dr. Annette Winkler, head of the Smart brand. "I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon."
The micro convertible will arrive on U.S. soil in the first half of 2016, a few months after it goes on sale in Europe. By the time it hits showrooms on this side of the Atlantic, it will join the ForTwo coupe, set to reach U.S. soil at the end of September 2015, and the 2015 Smart Fortwo Brabus Tailor Made program the brand announced earlier this year.
Update 06-29-2016: Mercedes has announced pricing for the 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio. Check out the prices section below for details.
Continue reading to learn more about Smart ForTwo Cabrio.