Originally Posted by DarkNWorn
They'll be available in the US in late '06 for about $50K. Top speed of about 120mph, 0-60 in about 8s. It seats 2, and is a semi-convertible. It's also classified as a motorcycle.
While I love the concept, I see three insurmountable problems for this vehicle as currently implemented: 1) $50k. Significantly exceeding the price of the cheapest exotic sports car an American can buy (the Lotus Elise) seems like a very risky move. After all, the Elise is much quicker, has an established exotic badge and thus a ready resale market, and is reasonably eco-friendly with its low mass, high recyclable materials content, and borderline acceptable fuel economy. The Elise also is likely safer, though a case could be made that in the US at least some height is a huge safety benefit. 2) According to the website, a slushbox is planned for US market, along with a different engine. (I wonder what the engined used in the EU is. I assumed the Smart turbo triple until I read that it has 16 valves. Maybe some Japanese Kei-class car engine?) Nobody who's interested in a driving machine will go anywhere near one of those wretched, satanic abominations. Just because we live between Mexico and Canada does not mean that we're all
effete pussies with left legs severely atrophied from lack of use, who could never be expected to master a task as taxing of strength and hand-eye coÃ¶rdination as shifting gears. Well, perhaps the 95%+ who would never be interested in such a machine anyway are precisely those things... 3) 39mpg. (They say 40 but according to an online calculator
that's optimistic for their quoted 6L/100km EU spec.) Something that small and light better damn well do significantly better than a lumbering Toyota Corolla (36 average per fueleconomy.gov), to say nothing of the hybrids or the more advanced current production EU-market cars such as the "3-liter" VW Lupo. (Note that I didn't list acceleration, except in comparison with the Elise. I bet an 8-second 0-60 time will feel bloody quick in a tiny enclosed capsule like that. I don't see a need for much more in that department, even given that minivans are 8-second vehicles in America today.) So after having lost most of the market with the price, any remaining driving enthusiasts with the slushbox, and the granola set mileage that's at least 10-15mpg shy of where such a machine should be. I guess that leaves...the Segway "sidewalk SUV" market? All the more a pity, because a well-implemented, reasonably priced - say $25-30k, which should be doable considering that BMW's supercool C1 is around USD10k in the UK, and - machine like that would get a chunk of my savings in a hurry. I really do love the concept, and hope somebody implements it well in the future.