Friday, April 20, 2007
The original idea behind the very short "smart car" is that the vehicle is easy to park. It is short enough to allow it to be parked "nose-in" where a conventionally sized car would have to parallel park. Its length of 2.5 metres (98.4 in) equals the width of a truck or a regular parking slot, allowing two or three smarts to park in the same space as one normal car if parked side-on to the usual parking direction.
The project idea was originally supported by Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch, and was nicknamed the "Swatchmobile". The name SMART is an acronym for Swatch Mercedes ART. The car was supposed to use innovative features (such as a hybrid engine) and to be an affordable car for young people. Similar to the objective for the Citroën 2CV in the 1940s, its purpose was to "transport two people and a case of beer".