Green cars – does the driver have the option?

Are car makers doing enough for Green-Keen buyers?

If car manufacturers are really serious about cutting CO2 then why aren’t they making
the best use of the eco-technology they already have?

I ask this in a week where I have been testing two green cars, the Ford Fiesta Econetic (brilliant) and I have just returned
from the press launch of Volvo’s new DRIVe series – again, it’s brilliant.

The thing is though that these cars achieve their amazing CO2 figures – 98 g/km
with the Fiesta, 104 for the Volvos – largely through some pretty easy methods.

I’m simplifying it a bit but essentially all they do is raise the gearing slightly
in the higher gears so the engine is turning over more slowly for a given speed
and using less fuel, tidy up the aerodynamics with revised radiator grilles, under-body
panels to smooth airflow and roof spoilers to reduce drag-inducing turbulence as
the air leaves the car, fit lower rolling-resistance tyres and perhaps do a tiny
bit of weight saving.

It’s not rocket science, is it? And the results are startling. My test Fiesta averages
an easy 65 to 70 mpg and on an 80-mile test route this morning in a Volvo C30 DRIVe,
the car apparently emitted 13.4 kgs of carbon dioxide. Given that the average CO2
output of a new car today is 158 g/km which would have meant 20.5 kgs over the same
journey, I just saved 7 kgs.

Now I remember a senior Ford bod telling me that one reason why it wasn’t going
down the hybrid route was that those petrol/electric cars are very good but expensive
and therefore sold in limited numbers. Better, he argued, to have 100,000 low-emission
Fiestas on the road because that way there would be a much greater benefit to the
environment.

I have to agree – which then begs the question why isn’t Ford fitting its eco-technology
to every car it makes? I mention Ford but I could just as well ask the question
of VW or other manufacturers.

The cynical answer of course is that there is a price premium they can charge but
I’m not convinced it is the best marketing ploy.

It’s only my opinion but I think there is a growing movement among car buyers to
reduce their carbon footprint but for far too many that option is an unfeasibly
expensive one.

Perhaps manufacturers might find themselves selling rather more cars if they made
the technology that people want easier to buy.

Someone will do it soon and I think the others will wonder why they got left behind.

Perrys dealerships feature Green Cars,
including these ‘green-aware’ ranges:

  • Citroen Airdream
  • Fiat Eco
  • Ford Econetic
  • Peugeot Blue Lion
  • Renault Eco2
  • Seat Ecomotive
  • Vauxhall Ecoflex