SMART goes John Deere green

Black Deere smart from SEMA

Tom Mutchler at Consumer Reports says his first drive in a SMART reminded him of his John Deere x300 lawn tractor. Slow and noisy, but they both fit in his garage. Apparently, Black Deere LLC had the same impression of the little car and showed up at SEMA with one in John Deere's green and yellow livery. Other than being painted to match farm machinery, the SMART ForTwo Passion Cabriolet sports four air horns and an air-compressor powered truck horn. You might not see this thing coming at you, but by God you'll hear it. Unfortunately, we can't find out much about the car's customizer, Black Deere. SEMA's information lists an inactive URL and Google turns up only the story from SEMA.

Gallery: SEMA 2008: Black Deere Smart

[Source: Consumer Reports]


Green Car Journal selects Mitsubishi i MiEV as Possible Green Car Vision Winner

Mitsubishi Motors' i MiEV electric car was selected by the Green Car Journal as one of five nominees for its 2009 Green Car Vision™ award, an honor that recognizes one vehicle that best envisions the future of transportation.

The winner will be announced February 3, 2009 at the Washington Auto Show in Washington D.C.

"We are pleased the i MiEV is getting this recognition," said Dan Kuhnert, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America. "Its design and execution are ideally suited to meet the urban transportation needs of a rapidly changing world."

The zero-emission i MiEV uses a state-of-the-art, 330-volt lithium-ion battery to power a 47 kW permanent-magnet motor. The compact, lightweight battery is situated under the floor, its small size helping to maximize the roomy four-passenger cabin while minimizing the car's overall footprint.

"Vehicles offering dramatically improved environmental performance are crucial to helping us move beyond today's challenges of oil dependence and growing environmental impacts," explained Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and editor of

Having completed extensive fleet-testing in Japan for the past two years, Mitsubishi's inventive i MiEV is currently undergoing fleet testing in a joint effort with two California utilities-Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric. It is scheduled to go on sale to the public in Japan this summer.


Press release via Mitsubishi


Chery to launch S16 "mini sedan"

The Chery S16 is called a sedan even though it only has two doors, a hatchback, what appears to be zero rear headroom, and is about 22 inches shorter than a Chevy Aveo. From the front, the styling conjures words like "bizarre" and "Picasso" and "flounder," but -- and perhaps it is the hour -- we find it kinda cute. At the rear, things get confused with a host of grafted designs that don't blend so well together.

Regardless of whether it's a sedan or what you think of its looks, Chery plans to release it by May of this year. What the company needs now is a name, and is appealing to the Chinese public to provide it with one. We don't understand why Chery is still in the hunt -- the car came with the perfect name when it was launched at the 2005 Shanghai Auto Show: Chery Wow. Indeed.

[Source: Gasgoo]


Fly like a Hawk in Alex Hodge's single seater

Hodge Hawk

We don't have anything against the T-Rex, but... you can keep it. Whenever we enter the market for a three-wheeled vehicle, we'll take this baby designed by New Zealander Alex Hodge. A fiberglass shell rides on an alloy chassis that connects the three wheels. For motive power there's the heart of a Honda RC51 sportbike, and the 10,000 rpm, 120 rear-wheel-horsepower would give the thing a theoretical top speed of 145 mph. When it's red light time, disc brakes are fitted up front and double-up in the back. Sure, you can't buy it yet, but we're not looking for a trike at the moment, either. And we can wait. So Alex, get to work, please...

[Source: Alex Hodge via]


Volvo to webcast Detroit Auto Show press conference live

Volvo S60 Concept

It may not be the same as attending the event in-person, but a live, interactive webcast of Volvo's press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, where the S60 concept and production XC60 for North America will be shown, could be the next best thing. The broadcast is intended for media types and members of the press, but the fact that it's being aired on DirecTV (channel 101, January 11 at 5:30 - 6:30 PM ET) means that anybody with a television and the satellite service can watch it live. Alternatively, users can register for a password to the online site, the location of which is not yet determined.

The coolest bit of tech that's making an appearance for this event is the capability to send questions to a live host who will then relay selected inquiries to key Volvo executives. These days, the global economic downturn is affecting everyone, including those who would normally cover these events for the media. This being the case and assuming the event is a success, we'd expect to more manufacturers to adopt a similar system at upcoming auto shows. Of course, we'll be there live and you can always direct your browsers to our pages for the best coverage available.

Gallery: Volvo S60 Concept

[Source: Volvo]