Members unsure how Smart cars will handle ice and snow

Car2Go is preparing for snowfall, as Calgary’s car-sharing program has put snow tires on all its blue-and-white smart for-two cars in the city. Drivers will now find an ice scraper in each vehicle.

The Car2Go program allows members to drive any of it’s fleet of nearly 300 vehicles, and park the cars anywhere throughout the home area between Glenmore Trail, Sarcee Trail, 16th Avenue and Blackfoot Trail.

 Daimler, the motor vehicle company that manufactures Smart cars and owns Car2Go,
has yet to be in Canadian cities for a full-year that receive snow during the winter months.

According to Consumer Reports, the size of the Smart cars is 61 inches wide by 61 inches tall, which weights a total of 1, 805 pounds. Consequently, there are some concerns about how the Car2Go smart cars will react to ice and snow.

Aron Mansell, a Calgary Car2Go member, said that since he does not drive the Car2Go smart cars on a regular basis, he is unsure how the vehicle will react on snow and ice.

“The cars drive poorly enough in the summer,” said Mansell. “I don’t know if I feel comfortable using them in winter conditions.”

As a result, Mansell said he plans to test out the Car2Go on a winter day to see how Shawn Wolchyn, member of Car2Go feels comfortable using smart cars during the winter months.

Photo by Haleigh Packerthe vehicle reacts to the road conditions.

However, Shawn Wolchyn, another member of the Car2Go program, said he thinks would use the program more often during the winter months.

“I have total faith in the design to keep me safe through winter driving,” Wolchyn said.

Although, Wolchyn admits that the Smart cars do ride close to the ground and that he feels the vehicles aren’t going to be able to handle anything too extreme.

However, even some smart car owners are concerned about how the vehicles handle the snow and ice.

Keith Nalepa said he bought his Smart car because the vehicles are relatively inexpensive brand new, have great fuel efficiency, and people can receive eco auto rebates of $1,000 after purchase.

However, he has some concerns on how his Smart car reacts to winter conditions. For instance, he carries a snow shovel in the vehicle for when the Smart car gets stuck in snowdrifts.

“I try to get around by picking roads that are clear of snow,” Nalepa said. “The hills around Lakeview can be challenging, because I can slide down them or not get up them, because they are too icy and steep.”

Safety Statistics on Smart Cars

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a U.S.-based non-profit organization, statistics show the smart cars received “good” crash-test ratings, which means they are in compliance with North American standards.

All smart cars, “come packed with standard safety features that are more likely to be found in luxury vehicles,” said Katie Stafford, the spokeswoman for Car2Go.

Stafford said the Car2Go vehicles must comply with safety rules and regulations under the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

“Smart cars have been sold throughout Canada since 2005, and the vehicles have been selected as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,” Stafford said.

There is no available information on smart cars and winter driving tests. However, Transport Canada states that all vehicles must meet all Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

hpacker@cjournal.ca

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