Tag Archives for smart car
The all-electric Smart EDs may not be here yet, but a companion app for the little city cars is already available in the iTunes App Store [$9.99 for the U.S version, $11.99 for the EU version]. Called Smart Drive, the app is one half of the Smart Drive Kit (the other is a holder that connects your iPhone to the dashboard and to the Fortwo’s entertainment system) and is suitable for use in non-electric Fortwos as well. Heck, you could probably use this app in any car you wanted with limited functionality.
The Smart Drive app does have some nifty frills, like streaming internet radio with over 10,000 preset stations installed – you can’t add your own, yet – and a Shazam-like feature built in that can identify music you’re listening to and purchase songs from within the app. In fact, doing things without leaving the app is kind of Smart’s whole idea here. You can listen to music and make phone calls and there’s also built-in bing search.
There is a map feature that uses GPS to place you on the car, but it’s not a turn-by-turn navigation app (a navigation upgrade is coming this summer for an extra $50 annual charge). The app’s database does have a lot of points of interest saved offline, so if you need to find a coffee shop and don’t have a network connection, you might be in luck. When used with the connection kit, the app automatically uses GPS to note the location of the car when you park. That’s kind of neat.
When used in a Smart ED, the app can do a few more things, like check on the battery charge status, the car’s range left with that charge and where local charging stations are located. From what we understand, these features are not remotely available unless the car is plugged into an Internet-capable charging station. The app requires an iPhone 3GS and is available now. The app only costs $9.99, but that Smart-specific cradle is an extra pretty penny. A U.S. price has not yet been announced, but it costs €240 in Germany (around $290 U.S. at today’s exchange rates).
Gallery: Smart Drive iPhone App
[Source: Smart USA]
When Daimler launched its Car2Go car sharing program as a pilot project in Austin, Texas six months ago, it was only available to municipal employees and some some selected partner organizations. Daimler has now decided to open up the program to the general public in Austin. Other car sharing systems, like ZipCar, have proven popular, but they all offer an important option that Car2Go does not: vehicle variety.
People participating in Car2Go only have access to the Smart ForTwo. Nonetheless, over 3,000 people, including 1,200 city employees, have signed up for the program. The fully automated program is currently averaging 2,000 rentals per week in the Austin area and Daimler plans to expand it to other cities in North America and Europe. Hopefully, other vehicles will be made available in addition to the Smarts. We’d be happy to take the S400 BlueHybrid out for an afternoon this summer, to name just one example.