: smart car - safe at any speed?



EcSTSatic
03-25-08, 01:42 PM
Our local paper printed this article (http://www.kansas.com/126/story/349574.html) in the Wheels section. That's my favorite section of the paper. I've seen this guy on the east side of town. I could get six of these in my 3-car garage! I wrote in and commented on the danger of encountering someone in an SUV talking on their cell phone. Then another person chimed in and thought a Hummer would fare worse. He posted this video (http://www.metacafe.com/watch/60538/smart_car_crash/). The test was controlled and the impact was low. I think things would be different in real life. Still, they seem to be pretty sturdy little cars.

dkozloski
03-25-08, 01:58 PM
Fifty years ago Mercury produced a car called a "Turnpike Cruiser". In response a resident of Oregon produced a "Turnpike Cruiser" which was a hollowed out redwood log mounted on an F600 Ford truck chassis and called it the ultimate safety car.

EcSTSatic
03-25-08, 02:01 PM
okay......? :hmm:

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
03-25-08, 06:06 PM
Oay, so it hit a non-moving wall. I wanna see what happens when it gets run over by a semi-truck or anything else with a bumper more than foot off the ground.

CTSV_Rob
03-25-08, 06:56 PM
I would like to see how it would fare against my 01 Ram 2500 4x4. I am lifted about 2" in the front and put some 35's on her so she sits a little higher then stock.

As I always say when driving the truck, "I will use their crumple zones". Would be interesting to see how it does up against a truck like this. I know it wouldn't be pretty but I would like to see some tests at about a 45MPH head on.

I have been interested in the car for a commuter but the safety thing has me a little concerned.

dkozloski
03-25-08, 07:24 PM
They didn't show bodies plastered against the front of the car. The idea that the passengers are safe if the vehicle isn't crushed is mistaken. They could be smeared out an inch thick on the windshield.

ewill3rd
03-25-08, 10:21 PM
Did I mention that we (the Lindsay organization) sell these at a new building right next door?!

They look scary to me, but they are selling the holey moley out of them.
I think since early Feb I have seen almost 100 of them go through.

I hope I don't see any pieces coming in on a tow truck.

I haven't driven one yet, but I am itching to, just don't want to take it out on the main streets!
:lol:
Two people and a couple bags of groceries is all they are good for, they look like roller skates!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-25-08, 10:49 PM
Personally, I'd love to try one out. Maybe I'll stop down at the local SMART dealer on Friday?

caddycruiser
03-25-08, 10:53 PM
These are actually great little things AND built extremely solidly.

It's another case of small does not equal unsafe in any regard, and the size is actually "just right" for 2 extremely comfortable people and their typical daily bags and such. Not a family vacation cruiser, but a perfect daily runabout and commuter.

We have one of the first Smart dealers a mile down the street from me, and I see them all the time AND want one. It would be so great for the daily town driving, insanely easy to park, comfortable, etc.

So yes...safe at any speed. Again and again, size plays some part, but when something is small and the structure one big loop of solidity, not much can harm it. Same thing with the VW Beetle, etc. Many would be surprised (I've never been...but it still mystifies people) how safe many even micro cars are.

dkozloski
03-25-08, 11:29 PM
My sister's husband had a thing called an Isetta with three wheels and a two stroke motor. It was like driving around in a galvanized garbage can. He got hit in the backend and shoved up against a power pole. The door opened to the front so there was no way to get out of it. The Isetta morphed into a BMW abortion.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=40659&stc=1&d=1206498503

MauiV
03-25-08, 11:39 PM
The weight and speed of the car does matter quite a bit.....

Suppose a 3000 lb. car were to crash into the rear of a truck that weighs 30,000#. The road is asphalt and the coefficient of drag is 0.7, the car is going 10 miles per hour, the truck is at rest.

The momentum of the system before the collision is:

Momentum = Mass (car) x Velocity (car) + Mass (truck) x Velocity (truck)

= 3000 x 10 + 0 x 30,000

= 30000


Since the external forces acting on the system during the impact are minimal (the brakes of the truck are off) momentum is conserved. Thus, after the accident the following relation holds true:


Momentum before =Momentum after

30,000 = 3000 x V + 30,000 x V

V = 30,000/33,000 = 0.9 mph


where "V" is now the post impact velocity of the vehicles. (We assume here that the truck and the car are moving with the same velocity after impact)

Thus, the car loses 9.1 mph = 13.3 ft/sec due to the action of the retarding impact force.


If the car is shortened about 8" in this impact, then the distance through which the retarding force acts is about 12" (the truck starts moving during the impact; assume it moves about 4") so that the car travels about 1' during the impact with an average velocity of about 8 ft/sec. Thus, the duration of the impact can be estimated as follows:

Distance = Velocity x Time

Time = Distance/Velocity

T = 1 ft/(8 ft/sec) = 0.125 sec

So the car decelerates from 14.7 ft/sec to 1.3 ft/sec in a time of 0.125 sec. Thus, its average deceleration is:

13.4 ft/sec / 0.125 sec = 107 ft/sec/sec = 3.33 g


The average force acting on the car then is 3.33 x 3,000# = 9990#


This is also the force that acts on the truck (Newton's Third Law: Every force has an equal and opposite reaction force): So that the average acceleration of the truck is: 30,000/9990 = 3 ft/sec/sec = 0.1 g


Im not getting in that car on a public road.

Red_October_7000
03-25-08, 11:40 PM
My sister's husband had a thing called an Isetta with three wheels and a two stroke motor. It was like driving around in a galvanized garbage can. He got hit in the backend and shoved up against a power pole. The door opened to the front so there was no way to get out of it. The Isetta morphed into a BMW abortion.


You have a knack for saying things that make me nearly spit drink on my keyboard.

At any rate, they're built very solidly, true, and would probably fare pretty well for their size in modest accidents with other small to medium sized vehicles. Solid barriers, semi-trucks, speeds over about 50 MPH, anything very large, lifted, or unusually rigid, etc. would demolish one. They are worlds safer than the microcars of years gone by, but they are nowhere near as safe as the ordinary sedans of 20 years ago. It's all just what matters to you as the buyer.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-25-08, 11:51 PM
It just amazes me the lengths some people will go to show that small cars are death traps. :bigroll:

I wonder when Ralph Nader is gonna come out with the book saying how bad these are? Oh wait, he probably won't, they're not domestic made. :bigroll:

MauiV
03-25-08, 11:56 PM
It just amazes me the lengths some people will go to show that small cars are death traps. :bigroll:

Says the guy driving a 4500lb Merc.

hueterm
03-26-08, 01:16 AM
Personally, I hate them, but admittedly have never been in one. Maybe they are comfortable inside...:ill:

If you're in Chicago, NY, LA -- somewhere where you're constantly in traffic, nowhere to park, and can go all day w/o going over 20 mph, then maybe...

But to get on the highway w/Excursions, FWBs, and Semis....no thanks.

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
03-26-08, 01:24 AM
I have been interested in the car for a commuter but the safety thing has me a little concerned.

Don't get a smart car for a commuter. You can get a Toyota Prius for only a few thousand more. Its bigger, safer and actually gets better mileage. Not to mention its actually useful because you can fit more than one grocery bag in the trunk.

hueterm
03-26-08, 01:28 AM
Or get a Yaris, get almost the same mileage, save several thousand dollars, avoid the "hybrid cult" and still have an ugly car.

dkozloski
03-26-08, 01:41 AM
Trabant!

TexasCadillac
03-26-08, 03:46 AM
My sister's husband had a thing called an Isetta with three wheels and a two stroke motor. It was like driving around in a galvanized garbage can. He got hit in the backend and shoved up against a power pole. The door opened to the front so there was no way to get out of it. The Isetta morphed into a BMW abortion.
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=40659&stc=1&d=1206498503 A man that had an Isetta mini car told me the Isetta car was given to buyers of a new BMW car. Buyers got a free Isetta with purchase of a new BMW. I think Steve Erkel had one on a tv show.

Jesda
03-26-08, 08:44 AM
Get a convertible. Instant death!

ewill3rd
03-26-08, 09:45 AM
Wow, I looked at the lot while walking to my bay, we only have like 5 left on the lot!

eyekandyboats.inc
03-26-08, 12:05 PM
Been in one and it was fun. whip around town in....about as much pep as a metro geo but Pff.
One thing to remember that this car was not made to get awesome gas mileage. The car was first done up in Italy. made for there and European streets like that. then it was brought over here.
The gas mileage is nothing to gock over because it wasn't made to get the best gas mileage

CIWS
03-26-08, 12:25 PM
Here's the full segment on the Smart crash. Notice when they look inside after the crash how close that steering wheel would be to your chest.


ju6t-yyoU8s



Also just for fun a Smart Diablo (hayabusa engine) vs a Ferrari in the 1/4.


f5S1NAMnYKM

gothicaleigh
03-26-08, 01:15 PM
I think they're neat. I honestly want one. :gothiscared:




...those things are also screaming for an LS transplant. :D

EcSTSatic
03-26-08, 01:24 PM
Here's the full segment on the Smart crash. Notice when they look inside after the crash how close that steering wheel would be to your chest.



Thanks for the links. So the cage is intact but the occupants are dead :confused:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-26-08, 01:48 PM
Says the guy driving a 4500lb Merc.


I happen to like a lot of different cars, but I REALLY like the big Benzes.

CIWS
03-26-08, 01:55 PM
Thanks for the links. So the cage is intact but the occupants are dead :confused:

That's so that they can bury you in it.
;)

I think their point there is an impact at that speed (70-0) is going to do too much internal organ damage to be survivable, despite the condition of the vehicle. Personally I'd be concerned about the condition of my chest and legs as the driver.

CIWS
03-26-08, 01:57 PM
I think they're neat. I honestly want one. :gothiscared:




...those things are also screaming for an LS transplant. :D


I'm kinda curious what the mileage would drop to with the hayabusa. Mid to low 13s is decent in any car.

dkozloski
03-26-08, 03:20 PM
I'm kinda curious what the mileage would drop to with the hayabusa. Mid to low 13s is decent in any car.
That's V8 STS territory. It's kind of interesting that they found that if you brake torque a Caddy very hard that the torque management system pulls timing and throttle position. You need a very light brake torque, let the car roll from the line and nail it. The result with an RWD V8 STS is mid 13s in the quarter.

hardrockcamaro@mac.c
04-03-08, 07:50 PM
The Smart car is actually a very advanced design with the engine mounted out of the way and a strong safety cell.

Oh and pickups and SUVs aren't as safe in an accident s you might imagine. They have a high tendency of rolling over and crash tests show that a lot of them crumple very badly. Hardly surprising given that they never had to pass safety tests as they were considered off-road vehicles.

But, physics is physics and there's a lot to be said for belong in the vehicle with the greatest mass...

They're fine in Europe where cars are generally smaller but even in the USA they'd be ok in town as speeds are lower anyway.

ewill3rd
04-03-08, 09:42 PM
Looks like we got a shipment in, I saw a bunch more on the lot today.
Saw a cameraman and a good looking blonde out there this morning too... not sure what that was about.

Red_October_7000
04-04-08, 12:57 AM
Oh and pickups and SUVs aren't as safe in an accident s you might imagine. They have a high tendency of rolling over and crash tests show that a lot of them crumple very badly. Hardly surprising given that they never had to pass safety tests as they were considered off-road vehicles.


This is the standard boilerplate of the anti-SUV crowd who seem to equate operator error (almost all rollovers are caused by operator error) to poor vehicle design. You can't drive a 5500 pound truck like a 3200 pound car, people. This should be rather self-evident. Anywho, weight still is the large factor in an accident, which means that a 5500 pound truck with middling safety design will win in an accident versus a galvanized garbage can with excellent safety design because the former will punt the latter over the horizon. I'm not too worried about the rollover safety of the average SUV when you consider Consumer Reports, the god of all the tiny gas-sipping Asian car pole-smokers, only ever took serious issue with the Isuzu Trooper, and one other that slips my mind, when they even managed to lift two wheels of a Blazer off the ground in one test, and didn't bat an eyebrow as it was easily corrected!

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
04-04-08, 02:04 AM
I happen to like a lot of different cars, but I REALLY like the big Benzes.

Bigger = better. There is no replacement for displacement. :bouncy: