What will be the options for green-minded motorists with an eye on the future? Here are some green cars to look out for...
Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE
Mazda is leasing this dual-fuel model, which uses hydrogen and a petrol rotary engine, in Japan. It’s not entirely practical, though, since hydrogen filling stations are few and far between in the country.
The company is also supplying some cars to the to the HyNor project – a road network in Norway, that has seven hydrogen refuelling stations along its length.
British company Riversimple claims the Urban - a two-seat city car that will out-accelerate a Smart Fortwo to 50mph - is the 'most commercially viable' fuel-cell car so far. The company expects to have models available for lease from 2012, with full-scale production expected to kick off a year later.
The company says the car should be relatively affordable, with a leasing charge of around £200 per month. On top of that, early adopters will have to pay around 15p per mile to cover all other variable costs – including the hydrogen fuel.
Morgan 'Life Car'
Even specialist car maker Morgan is investigating alternative fuels. The Morgan 'Life Car', which was first shown at the 2008 Geneva Show, uses a fuel-cell hybrid powertrain, giving it a 200-mile range. It's unclear when, or if, the car will go on sale.
General Motors Sequel
The Sequel was first shown at the 2005 Detroit Show, and demonstrates the group's plans for a hydrogen fuel-cell car. The car itself is about the size of a Cadillac SRX and travels up to 300 miles on its hydrogen supply. Current plans are to have a version of the concept in proudction by the end of 2010.
The C-Metisse concept car is a diesel hybrid performance car. It uses two electric motors and a V6 diesel engine. Around town, it can rely on the electric motors alone, but the 208bhp diesel helps it hit 155mph. Oh, and it’ll average 45mpg.
Mitsubishi i MiEV
The i MiEV has an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, a top speed of just over 85mph and a 90-mile range. It takes seven hours to recharge fully.
There are no local emissions at all, while on a ‘well-to-wheel’ basis, Mitsubishi reckons it emits just 41g/km of CO2 – far less than the 145g/km of the petrol car it’s based on.
Smart Fortwo ed
Following successful trials with 100 cars in the UK, Smart is to put its Smart ed (electric drive) into production in 2010. The car uses an electric motor that's powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can be recharged by plugging the car into a standard domestic socket. Smart says the battery is maintenance-free and can last up to 10 years, and the car will be available for lease to companies or private individuals.
Nissan has announced that it will have an all-new electric car on sale in 2011. Unlike partner company Renault, which will make electric-powered versions of its existing range, Nissan will offer a unique battery-powered line-up to run in parallel with its petrol and diesel models.
Nissan says the car will be a five-seat, mid-sized hatchback with a conventional steel body, but with some aluminium and plastic components to keep weight down. They will use as many components as possible from other vehicles to keep the price down.
Kia ’d Idle Stop and Go
The Stop and Go Cee'd produces less than 120g/km of CO2 and almost 60mpg.
The company plans to introduce the ISG (Idle Stop Go) system on all of its small cars, including the Soul. However, 12 months after its launch, you could get a Soul with a mild hybrid petrol-electric engine.
Posrche has already started work on reducing the emissions on its range of cars, introducing a diesel-engined version of the Cayenne and cutting emissions on the 911 by 15% with new engines.
Also in the pipeline is a stop-start system that will be fitted to V8 versions of the Panamera and Cayenne.
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