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Geneva Motor show: the hunt for CO2 is on

Environment Published the 17/03/2010

This year, while exploring the stands at the Geneva Motor Show, it was difficult to miss the green. The 2010 edition of the show was deliberately positioned under the theme of the environment with a single goal – to show off the lowest CO2 emission rates.

Le nouveau pneu Pirelli Scorpion Verde Copyright © : Pirelli

A "green" label

Not one brand was missing from the list of "eco-manufacturers". The clean car was definitely the guest of honour at the 80th edition of the international Geneva Motor Show. Whether it be the Econetic, Greenline, Bluemotion or Airdream, all models have succumbed to the green wave that would appear to be a constant for all car manufacturers on the planet. Just a fashion until recently, this trend has transformed into an economic necessity for manufacturers who, over the next ten years, are forecasting a resulting increase in sales of hybrid or electric cars.

 Ferrari HY-KersCopyright © : Rezulteo
Experts in the car market estimate that by 2020, vehicles using substitute energy will represent 10% of new car registrations. This green wave is hitting all brands and all models of vehicles, from the small city car to Ultra High performance cars, at Ferrari and Porsche in particular, who are offering their hybrid concepts HY-Kers and 918 Spyder.

Green in all segments

All technologies are represented; the Stop&Start system initiated by Valeo and PSA (the engine automatically switches to standby when the vehicle is stopped). The KERS braking energy recovery process is attracting more and more manufacturers. During braking, a considerable amount of energy is lost and this system recovers this energy to power an electric engine, such as in the new Ferrari 599 HY-KERS Concept). Also to mention are solar panels, 8-gear gearboxes and green tyres.

Citroën C-ZeroCopyright © : rezulteo
From this, it is difficult to draw up a "clean car" record, as the products on offer from all car manufacturers are so numerous. The themecommon to all and at the centre of their sales strategy: reducing fuel consumption and hence limiting CO2 emissions with hybrids and eliminating them with electric cars. One example is the Opel Ampéra which combines an electric engine with a small combustion engine, offering 500 km of autonomy, or the Citroën C-Zero and its 47 kW engine that claims a maximum speed of 130 kph and 130 km autonomy. Also well placed is the latest 100% electric car from Peugeot, the iOn, a small four-door city car, rechargeable in six hours from a traditional 220-volt outlet.
Audi A8 Hybrid at the Geneva Motor ShowCopyright © :
Audi is also up there with the electric version of the new Audi A1 (Audi A1 e-Tron) and in the luxury segment with the A8 Hybrid and its 33kW engine combined with the 211 hp 2.0l TSI.

From the dream to the reality

This "green" phenomenon is relative however, as of the sixty or so models on offer, only twelve will actually be on sale during the coming year. Not all these concept-cars or prototypes will necessarily become the cars of tomorrow. The Geneva Motor Show is demonstrating good intentions and interesting "clean" concepts. Let us hope that this will not just be a marketing gimmick and that this desire will rapidly translate into a more generous offer on the clean car market.