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Wednesday November 22nd 2017

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It is not only about being green

Only a bit of into

Road vehicles are responsible for a more that 20% of the total emissions of greenhouse gases. As everyone knows, the increasing concentration of those in the atmosphere is leading to climate change. The mainly emitted greenhouse gases by cars are Carbon Dioxide, Monoxide and NOx. The transport sector is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. There have been studies that have proved that there is a link between vehicle pollutants and human ill health. Respiratory and cardio-pulmonary disease and lung cancer are the main illnesses.

European directives have been instrumental in reducing what are known as the regulated emissions. These regulations become more and more stringent year on year. This is one of the reasons why manufacturers are investing constantly in technologies to make their cars greener. Catalytic converters, injection systems, diesel particulate filters (DPFs)… are some of the technologies manufacturers had to start applying some years ago. The change to unleaded petrol played a big role also. In fact, the reduction in emissions by cars is so dramatic that a car manufactured today pollutes 20 times less than a car produced in the 70s. Nowadays technologies like high precision direct injection, start-stop systems, last generation catalytic converters… are helping reduce even more the figures of toxic gases. All helps…

…but it not only about being green!

Everyone agrees that reducing emissions is extremely important. We only have one world, and we want to make it last. Then, does this mean that we need to end up driving extremely efficient but boring cars? I am sorry but I don’t agree. And neither do some car companies.

Almost all brands achieve lower consumptions through the same means: engine downsizing, increasing the fuel efficiency, decreasing the weight and minifying the air drag and road resistance. In some companies like Smart, Seat, Ford and Volkswagen this means poor acceleration times and low top speed and therefore a boring driving experience. Other brands like BMW, Audi or Mercedes go further, they achieve amazingly low consumption figures but their cars still have a lively feel, proper acceleration times and high top speeds.

This is because they invest in new technologies, and then apply these in the production cars. They don not limit themselves to reducing power output and weight. They achievements are admirable! Some of the technologies they apply are: deeply engineered, tuned and refined engines; electric power steering, only consumes power when used; brake energy regeneration; lighter body construction…

Take for instance the BMW 320d with efficient dynamics package. It produces 163hp and 380Nm of torque. It consumes only 4.1 l/100km and emits 109 grCO2/100km. It accelerates from stand still to 60km/h in 8.2 seconds and has a max speed of 220Km/h. AMAZING!!! Just amazing!

I have no words, the figures speak for themselves… I have to finish saying that if BMW, for instance, achieves that with a 1500Kg car what other brands are doing is nothing. They seriously need to catch up…

A table comparing the various cars could have been done. I recommend you visiting the various manufacturers websites and reading these previous posts:

BMW Efficient Dynamics

Audi Driving Efficiently

MERCEDES Blue Efficiency

VOLKSWAGEN BlueMotion

Driving Efficiently

Note: On these article, only IC engines have been taken into discussion. Other technologies like hydrogen, hybrids, fuel cells and fully electrics may be treated in future posts.

References

http://www.whatgreencar.com/index.php

http://www.autocar.co.uk/CarReviews/FirstDrives/BMW-3-Series-320d-EfficientDynamics/242759/

The various car manufacturers websites

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