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Any word on official EPA mileage/pollution and NHSTA crash test results? Wrapping these up I think will be a big step in getting our Smarts over here to the USA.
 

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Testing Process

To sell a vehicle in the US, the manufacturer must certify to the distributor that the vehicle meets federal safety and emissions standards. The NHTSA and EPA define the test procedures and acceptable results, but they don't actually test the vehicles themselves. The manufacturer is responsible for conducting the tests and certifying that their vehicles meet the standards. This testing is normally carried out at the manufacturer's own facilities, and I'm sure DaimlerChrysler has already done this, although they do not appear to have made any results public.

The NHTSA does conduct the NCAP (aka "Star Rating") crash test, which is a voluntary test intended to provide manufacturers with a "market incentive" to produce safer vehicles. This test is more stringent (i.e. 5 mph higher speed) than the federal standard test, but is not required in order to sell a car in the US (in fact there are many vehicle on sale here that have not been NCAP tested). Nor can a car "fail" the NCAP test, although a 1 or 2 star rating would clearly be a marketing disaster. I'm sure that DaimlerChrysler will want the smart to be NCAP tested (in anticipation of a good rating), but the timing of this is not a constraint on selling the car.
 

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Some of the 2008 EPA fuel estimates are out. Smart is not included yet, nor are Honda or Toyota passenger cars. The EPA has established a new testing procedure, which is supposed to give more realistic estimates. I am assuming that smart is making their estimates based on the new method. The new method pretty much downgrades everyone. Here are some examples of downgraded 2007 combined mileages:

Honda Civic Hybrid
 

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Some of the 2008 EPA fuel estimates are out. smart is not included yet, nor are Honda or Toyota passenger cars. The EPA has established a new testing procedure, which is supposed to give more realistic estimates. I am assuming that smart is making their estimates based on the new method. The new method pretty much downgrades everyone. Here are some examples of downgraded 2007 combined mileages:

Honda Civic Hybrid
 

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Still not very impressive compared with the much larger Prius.:(
Depends if you factor in purchase price and overall lifecycle costs. :)

I've often wondered how the EPA mileage test procedure deals with energy stored in the battery pack for hybrids. If a hybrid has less energy in its battery pack at the end of the test than the beginning, that would be sort of "cheating". Anyone know if this is allowed?
 

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Depends if you factor in purchase price and overall lifecycle costs. :)

I've often wondered how the EPA mileage test procedure deals with energy stored in the battery pack for hybrids. If a hybrid has less energy in its battery pack at the end of the test than the beginning, that would be sort of "cheating". Anyone know if this is allowed?
Never thought of that. Good point!
 

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now, now...lets play nice!

Throwing out the hybrids, the Smart's 40-something does look very good for gas only engine however!
 

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Something has crossed my mind: we have been presuming that the U.S. 451’s 41+ MPG is a preliminary estimate, to be finalized after testing. Why is an odd number like 41+ assigned; why not just 40+, when the “plus” would still cover the 41? Or, they could have said "Over 40." Could it be that smart GmbH has already done the testing to the EPA standard, and got 41, and the plus is part of the “your mileage may vary” statement?
 

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What I am wondering is this. Could Smart be basing the mileage of the new Smart on the new MPG ratings (which usually results in lower MPG) while the Prius and others are still on the old MGP rating.
 

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The U.S. smart has to use the new system; all 2008s have to. The Prius numbers posted were the effect of EPA adjusting 2007 numbers to the 2008 standard, thus Prius' 55 MPG was the old system and 46 MPG the new.
 

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The numbers for a lot of '07 models have been restated to conform to the 2008 measurement. Does anyone know if this is n actual recalculation or just an approximate adjustment to compare apples to apples?
 

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Right on

Depends if you factor in purchase price and overall lifecycle costs. :)

I've often wondered how the EPA mileage test procedure deals with energy stored in the battery pack for hybrids. If a hybrid has less energy in its battery pack at the end of the test than the beginning, that would be sort of "cheating". Anyone know if this is allowed?
Micronut is right on. Having done many "FTP's" (Federal Test Procedure-emissions and gas mileage testing using 3 bag method for anyone that is familiar with this procedure)on MB's chassis dyno (Ann Arbor, MI) in the past qualifying an alternative engine vehicle's mileage, cold start penalty is a definite part of the equation. The energy used to warm up the vehicle's engine in the beginning of the test was not able to be used at the end of the test. For example, our alternative vehicle could drive at 50 mph on a flat road for 3 additional miles while it expended the heat energy built up in the engine that we already paid for, so to speak, in the very beginning of the test. We were NOT allowed to utilize that stored energy in the test due to EPA's rules and regs, ie, turning off the fuel flow 3 miles before the end of the test and using the stored heat energy......our overall results would have been better if we had.
This is much the same principal as with the stored energy in the Prius that Micronut is suggesting, except they WERE using the stored energy and not having to replace it...kind of in reverse of what my experience was with stored heat in the engine. Another factor not considered is the regenerative braking advantage HEV's have over the regular ICE car ....a definite *PLUS* for hybrids. So comparing hybrids to regular, ICE cars is really not fair. Hybrids should have a test devised all it's own for reasons of fair comparison to vehicles not having such energy storage advantage. You can't compare apples to oranges.
 
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