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Top 10 Green Wheels To Watch In 2008 03.01.08

Those brilliant guys over at What Green Car have come up with the hottest green cars to be looking for in 2008 for a cooler planet. Every one would be a great step forward for those of us who can’t use public transport all the time, from zero emissions Th!nk City to the heaviest in the list the Vauxhall’s New Agila at 120 gms per kilometer.

Across 2008 the auto industry is responding to increasing consumer demand by offering a wider range of new low carbon cars. To illustrate this change in attitude, all ten models listed below have tailpipe CO2 emissions of 120 g/km or less.

While WhatGreenCar usually provide a WhatGreenCar? environmental rating for all models listed, as most of these cars have yet to be launched, only published and/or target CO2 emissions are available. Therefore all models are rated using tailpipe CO2 and are listed in order of increasing emissions.

1. TH!NK City – CO2: zero g/km

Following a decade of failed launches (by PIVCO) and buy-outs (by Ford), the new Norwegian owners Think Global are about to resurrect the Th!nk electric car. The eagerly awaited Th!nk City has a top speed of 62 mph, an acceleration of 0–50 mph in 16 seconds, a charge time of 10 hrs and a very respectable range (for an electric car) of up to 110 miles. This time round, Think Global is working in partnership with Tesla Motors of the Roadster fame, who are supplying the low maintenance Zebra batteries (which use a high temperature chloro-aluminate electrolyte), and Porsche Consulting to maximise production-line efficiency and build quality. Prices to be confirmed; launch due during first half of 2008. Website: http://en.think.no.

2. Smart fortwo cdi and mhd – CO2: 88/103 g/km

The fortwo cdi’s 799cc three cylinder engine (the world’s smallest direct injection diesel) provides a top speed of 84 mph, 0-62 mph in 19.8 seconds, and an inspiring 85 mpg with CO2 emissions of only 88 g/km, the lowest of any conventional production car. Though Smart may not officially launch a UK right-hand drive version in 2008, left-hand drive models can easily be imported. More likely to be launched is the fortwo mhd (micro hybrid drive) which uses the new 999cc, three cylinder petrol engine providing 71bhp (max speed 91 mph, 0-62 mph in 13.3 seconds). The ‘micro hybrid’ drive refers to the use of a belt driven generator that supplies the car’s electrical system and doubles up as a starter motor. This enables the engine to ‘stop-start’ in idling mode; so reducing CO2 emissions from 112g/km to 103g/km. Fortwo cdi from £7,195. Websites: lhdplace.com, onsmart.co.uk.

3. Seat Ibiza Ecomotive – CO2: 99g/km (target)

The four-seater Ibiza Ecomotive is set to be among the greenest new cars on sale in the UK in 2008. With official CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km (74.3 mpg), the Ecomotive is not only set to avoid the London Congestion Charge under the latest proposals, but also ‘road tax’, as it fits into the tax-exempt VED band A. The impressive fuel economy betters the already-frugal Ibiza 1.4 TDI on which the new model is based (CO2 124 g/km; 61.4 mpg) – this has been achieved by the use of new engine management software, longer gear ratios, improved aerodynamics (Cd of 0.300 compared with Cd 0.315 for the 1.4 TDI), and use of Dunlop SP10A 165/70 R14 tyres, whose materials and design result in less road friction. Particulate emissions are also reduced using a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Prices to be announced. Website: seat.co.uk

4. Suzuki A-Star – CO2: 109g/km (target)

Following the successful launch of the Suzuki Splash (see the New Agila below), the company is developing the A-Star, a fuel-efficient, low-emission five-door hatchback. The model is to have an all-new Euro 5 compliant 1.0-litre aluminium petrol engine with CO2 emissions reported to be below 109g/km, making it greener than most of its main European competitors. While Suzuki already produces a low emission 1.3-litre diesel engine, the car maker does not plan to use it in the A-Star as the new 1.0-litre petrol engine is thought to be environmentally superior. However, Suzuki is studying options for small diesel engines for production in the future. Prices to be announced; launch due October 2008. Website: globalsuzuki.com.

5. Fiat 500 – CO2: 111g/km

Recently crowned 2008 Car of the Year, the 500 is only the second A-Segment car to have ever won the award (the first was the Fiat Panda in 2004) and is perhaps a signal that small cars and their environmental credentials are in the ascendancy. The most fuel-efficient model in the 500 range has a fuel economy of 67.3 mpg with CO2 emissions of only 111 g/km (VED band B). The Fiat 500 also sets new standards for city-cars – this is the first time that a car barely 3.55 metres long has been awarded a 5-star crash safety rating by Euro NCAP. Its regulated emissions also comply with Euro 5 standards, not due to be enforced until 2009. The Fiat 500 will be available in three engine sizes: 69 bhp 1.2-litre and 100 bhp 1.4-litre petrol, or 75 bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet Turbodiesel (lowest CO2); and in three different trim levels – Pop, Sport and Lounge. From £7,900; launch due January 2008. Website: fiat.co.uk.

6. Volvo C30 Efficiency – CO2: 118g/km

The new C30 Efficiency is powered by a 105PS 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine. Whereas the current C30 1.6D offers a combined fuel consumption of 57.6mpg (CO2 129g/km), the new model has even better fuel consumption (62.8mpg) and reduced CO2 emissions (approx 118g/km). This has been achieved by reducing chassis height, optimising gear ratios, and adding a new rear roof spoiler and under-body panels. Low friction tyres and transmission oil have been used and the steering servo assistance and engine management have also been optimised. Early 2008 will also see the introduction of a new 2-litre turbo diesel (2.0D) automatic transmission with Powershift technology (two clutches that work in parallel) for the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 model ranges. C30 Efficiency prices yet to be confirmed. Website: volvocars.co.uk .

7. Hyundai i30 CRDi – CO2: 119g/km

The new i30 uses a 90PS version of the current model’s advanced 115PS 1.6-litre CRDi turbo diesel engine, giving an official CO2 emission figure of just 119g/km (62.8 mpg). That drops the new model into VED band B with an annual ‘road tax’ cost of only £35; and puts the i30 CRDi into the new company car band for the 2008/09 tax year for diesels producing which will drop the rate from 18 to 13 per cent, saving tax payers hundreds of pounds every year. The car also comes with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) as standard, and the equipment list includes ESP, air conditioning and alloy wheels on all versions. As with all new Hyundai models, the i30 CRDi is also covered by a five year, unlimited mileage warranty. From £13,000 (approx); launch due January 2008. Website: hyundai.co.uk/i30.

8. New Hyundai i10 – CO2: 119g/km

Following the already launched i30 hatchback, the company has released details of the next instalment in its all-new range of ‘i’ cars – the i10 five-seater, five-door city-car. All i10 models will be powered by a 67PS, 1.1-litre petrol engine with either a manual or an automatic gearbox. Manual versions will reportedly have a fuel economy of over 60 mpg and produce just 119g/km of CO2, so qualifying the car for VED band B ‘road tax’ of only £35 a year. Design innovations include a gearshift lever that is mounted on the centre console to improve ergonomics and free up the space between the driver and the passenger seat. From £6,500 (approx); launch due March 2008. Website: hyundai.co.uk .

9. Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion TDI – CO2: 119g/km

After the Polo, Passat and Passat Estate, the Golf is the fourth VW to wear the BlueMotion badge, identifying it as the most economical model in the range. The TDI’s 77 kW / 105 PS diesel engine provides and a hefty 250 Nm of torque and the car requires just 4.5 litres fuel per 100 km (62.8 mpg, CO2 119 g/km), a full 0.6 litres per 100 km less than the original model (55.3 mpg, CO2 135 g/km). The emissions improvements have been achieved by the use of a recalibrated engine management system that reduces idling speed, a particulate filter, longer gear ratios, improved aerodynamic design, and light-running tyres optimised for rolling resistance. The top speed is electronically limited 118 mph. Prices to be confirmed; launch due Spring 2008. Website: volkswagen.co.uk/bluemotion.

10. Vauxhall’s New Agila – CO2: 120g/km

The New Agila will offer three new engines (and trim levels) and an automatic gearbox will be available for the first time. Petrol units include a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit developing 65 PS and an 85 PS 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine, the latter of which will be also available with automatic transmission. Vauxhall’s award-winning 1.3CDTi diesel will also be on offer, delivering 75 PS with a fuel economy of around 62 mpg (120 g/km). In light of the growing need for environmental compatibility, emissions of all three engines with 5-speed manual gearbox are between only 120g/km and 140g/km. Suzuki will also launch a version of the New Agila named the ‘Splash’, which will share a common chassis and offer the same engine range. New Agila from £7,595; launch due April 2008. Websites: vauxhall.co.uk, newsuzukisplash.co.uk.

For all this and more on Green Driving take a look at WhatGreenCar.com’ s website

Peter Shield

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