WE all know, I think, that almost all car manufacturers are very much concentrating on cleaner transport solutions, which will be much less harmful to the environment – and much more friendly to motorists’ pockets.
For the second consecutive year, the organisers of Geneva International Motor Show, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Energy Office, as part of ‘Suisse Energie’, a national platform for the promotion of energy efficiency, will publish a brochure containing all the ‘Green’ cars exhibited at the Show. The leaflet lists all models on display at the Salon which emit no more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre, regardless of their means of propulsion. This figure complies with the average emission level due to be imposed by the European Union on all new cars from 2021. Of the 900 or so cars on show, around 100 already meet these criteria today.
Since 2009, the Geneva Show has been a leader in promoting alternative propulsion technologies. At first these ‘alternative’ vehicles were presented in a pavilion specifically dedicated to what were then new concepts, but the number of new ecological and economical models has grown to the point where today they are now displayed on the majority of manufacturers’ stands. The 85th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show will be open to the public from 5th – 15th March in Palexpo’s exhibition halls.
The leaflet will be distributed at the entrance to the Motor Show.
Some time ago, the Swiss National Counsellor, Doris Leuthard, who will officially open the Show on March 5th, swapped her official car for a Tesla. She is widely expected to be seen at the wheel of this 100% electric car for her visit to the Show.
Although automotive engineers and craftsmen have always focused on improving all aspects of cars as a whole, in the past motorists were primarily interested in their car’s performance, thereafter in their safety (a shift largely due to the increase in traffic) and finally by advances in more economic and ecological propulsion technologies. The 2008 economic crisis, however, coupled with increasingly stringent EU legislation, compelled the car industry to redouble its efforts in this domain.
The result was the development of a full array of alternative drive systems (electric, hybrid – petrol/electric, diesel/electric, hydrogen, natural gas, biofuel), to which was added the ‘downsizing’ of the combustion engine as a means of decreasing fuel consumption.
In fact, Toyota launched its first hybrid model, the Prius, back in 1997, followed by Honda with their Insight model in 1999. Ford commercialised the first hybrid SUV, the Escape, in 2004, followed by Dodge with their RAM pickup truck and Chevrolet with their Silverado.
New concept cars always seem audacious and sometimes far-fetched when first presented. In 2009, they were presented all together for the first time in a dedicated ‘Green Pavilion’ at the Geneva Show, providing visitors with an overview of the evolution, or even revolution, that the automobile world was about to experience.
Today, all the major manufacturers produce ‘clean’ cars. The brands of sports cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Porsche), high-end cars (Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes) and more recent arrivals (Tesla) have followed in their footsteps.
The Nissan Leaf, a 100% electric car, was voted Car of the Year in 2011, and the Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt, an electric/petrol hybrid, received the same accolade in 2012. A new FIA International motorsport championship, Formula E, has been launched for single-seater racing cars which are 100% electric and is already in its first season in 2014-2015.