Paul Clarke is the editor of Green-Car-Guide.com and he was recently one of the panellists at the Regent Street Motor Show. He answered many questions regarding low-carbon transport from figures from the transport industry who were in attendance as the are still many misconceptions regarding the viability of green motoring and how beneficial it actually is to the environment.
One of the key points is that whilst there are over 62m new cars produced every year, it has been estimated by Lux Research that by 2020 there will still only be 7.5m sales of electric or hybrid cars. This puts all the money being put into research and development into doubt. The plain fact is however that while the UK is dedicated to greener motoring many countries aren’t as yet.
As far as urban driving is concerned, electric or hybrid vehicles make a lot of sense, it is for longer journeys that people still tend to side with a petrol or diesel car. There is obviously a long way to go before companies replace their fleets with greener vehicles and there is extensive research taking place in this area. You also have to consider that millions of pounds are being invested by people who obviously believe this is the future of motoring.
Latest figures from the Department of Transport show that there are now 85 new cars in the UK that have a combined cycle economy of less than 20mpg, and many believe there should be a minimum economy limit on all new cars. This is being addressed through the CO2 targets that the European community is placing on cars. This lack of economy is particularly prevalent is such vehicles as Range Rovers.
These are large and heavy pieces of engineering and it would be almost impossible to pack this kind of technology into something lightweight and efficient. There are, however, pictures circulating which shows the new Range Rover Evoque, which delivers 50mog parked on top of a mountain. This effectively shows that these vehicles can be more economical without losing any of their power.
You would think that a country with the such a technological pedigree as the US would be leading the field in greener motoring. This is actually far from reality and they are trailing way behind the UK. Microsoft guru Bill Gates once said that if GM has kept up the way technology has moved forward in the same way as the computer industry has all Americans would be driving cars that cost $25 and gave 1000mpg.
In reality, the best selling car in the US gives an atrocious 14mpg and this only emphasises further the way that the UK is embracing greener motoring and taking it to new levels all the time. The Japanese are pioneers of fuel efficient vehicles, they offered the technology to the American motor industry, they turned it down and went bust. GM have now re-emerged with a car that does 175mpg, so they are finally on the right track.