We're missing out on micros
Europe is awash with micro-cars and with gas at $2.20 a litre there, that's not too surprising.
Sadly, very few of them show up here. One problem is meeting the strict safety standards and regulations imposed by Canada.
A foreign manufacturer's representative recently told Driving editor Keith Morgan that revamping a production line to meet the standards would cost his company around $50 million, prohibitive for such a small market.
Another reason is a perceived lack of consumer interest in small cars. However, the popular Smart car may be blazing a trail that other manufacturers will follow.
In the next few months, we plan to show the small cars making it big overseas.
Today, reach for the magnifying glass and eye the diminutive 1.1-litre Hyundai i10 five-door hatchback. It's only 3.5 metres long and just 1.5 metres wide, but seats four adults.
The Honda FCX Clarity is the manufacturer's next-generation, zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle.
It's based on Honda's new V Flow fuel-cell platform, which is less than half the size of the original cell stack. When compared to the last version, it is claimed to show a 30-per-cent improvement in driving range to 435 kilometres and a 20-per-cent increase in fuel economy, offering an equivalence to regular gas consumption of 3.4 litres/100 km.
The Clarity will be leased for $600 per month to "guinea pig" customers in southern California next summer.
Those "regulations" are obstacles imposed by government, a major beneficiary of the purchase of larger vehicles and the fuel they consume.