GREEN CARS AT BOLOGNA SHOW

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  • December 5, 2007 16:17 IST
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BOLOGNA : With a total of around 15 million alternate-fuel cars running on European roads today, the buyers seem to have been evolving with the advent of fuel technology. Take the case of Italy, the country has over 18, 00, 000 gas fuelled cars on its roads and the numbers seem to be increasing by the day. In the 32nd Bologna Motor Show, the agenda was on environment friendly cars and technologies.

Italy is the world leader when it comes to running cars in LPG and natural gas, and this the precise reason why almost all the major Italian car manufacturers showcased vehicles that ran on alternate fuels. Other than the environment issue, skyrocketing furl prices have also pushed the manufacturers to look at alternate fuels. Almost all the car manufacturers have displayed their latest green cars along with various environment friendly concepts vehicles. Apart from having a look at each one of them, we also got the opportunity to test drive few of these green cars and it was a mind-boggling experience. Here we present to you all environment friendly cars that adorn the Bologna motor show this year.

BMW X6 Active Hybrid Concept

BMW's Concept X6 Active Hybrid is the centre of attraction and by a good margin. Though it shares the look of its body with that of Concept X6, this hybrid concept still seems to be visually different from it. The new X6 Active Hybrid boasts of a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain co-developed with General Motors, Chrysler, and Daimler-Benz.The hybrid technology of this concept is likely to reach production in Chrysler, BMW, and GM vehicles. It has hydrid batteries, an electric drive system, and a supplementary gasoline-engine drive system. BMW claims that the hybrid technology introduced in the car will offer a twenty-per cent improvement in both fuel economy and emissions over atypical gasoline-powered engine.

Ford Focus Econetic

The hybrid Ford Focus ECOnetic showcased at Bologna looked exactly like the gasoline powered Focus but all the difference lay under the hood. The company is intending to use diesel technology to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If you are wondering about the name ECOnetic - it is the result of the marketing gurus' combining the word "ecological" with Ford of Europe's "kinetic design" mantra. The technology will allow greener powertrains to be fitted to current models.Ford Europe's first model to benefit from this technology will be the Focus. Powered by a 109 bhp 1.6L TDCi diesel unit, and thanks to reduced drive resistances and improved aerodynamics, the Focus ECOnetic returns a fuel consumption of consumption of just 4.3 litres per 100km which corresponds to an average CO2 emission of 115g/km.

Ford C-max Flexi-fuel

Along with the new Focus Econetic, Ford is showcasing the C-max Flexi-fuel too which is uses E85, a mix of 15 per cent petrol and 85 per cent ethanol. Using ethanol has certain advantages for the environment. Though the fuel does emit CO2 in similar quantities as petrol on its own, the overall CO2 emission is some 80 per cent less when the production system is taken into account. The C-MAX seems to be a strong and comfortable car for those with a need for just five seats and a substantial cargo capacity. The 1.8 litre engine offers up to 125hp and a punchy performance..

Kia Eco_ceed concept

According to the information floating around at the Bologna show, the first Kia car to receive the eco-treatment will be a version of the Ceed hatchback, based on the eco_ceed concept shown here. The concept was unveiled at last month's Frankfurt motor show. This car will have enhanced fuel efficiency and environmental performance without sacrificing the driving performance. If you bother to compare it with that of 'ceed,' Kia's current five-door hatch, the fuel efficiency will be increased by 17 per cent to 25.6 kmpl, and the CO2 emission would be reduced by 20 g/km to 104 g/km.The car employs a 1.6-litre diesel engine compliant with Euro5, the next version of European emission control standard.

Volvo Recharge concept

Volvo unveiled this plug-in hybrid at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Now, we got to see it again at the Bologna, Italy show. It has been made on the platform of Volvo C30 with individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be charged via a regular electrical outlet. When fully charged the Volvo ReCharge Concept can be driven approximately 62 miles on battery power alone before the car's four-cylinder 1.6 Flexifuel engine is needed to power the car and recharge the battery. The concept car also retains the Volvo C30's lively and sporty drive thanks to an acceleration figure of 0-62mph in 9 seconds and a top speed of 100mph

Honda Civic hybrid

One of the hybrid badshahs of automobile industry was also present at the Italian show. Being a only competitor for Toyota Prius in the markets where it has been launched, Civic hybrid has recently undergone a major overhaul. Now into its third generation, Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system too is well proven. By all accounts, Honda has not only designed the Civic very well, it has engineered it to the extreme. The Civic hybrid breaks the 50 miles mark for both highway and city on fuel economy, and qualifies for the zero emissions mark too. To achieve the maximum fuel consumption from the new model, Honda has fitted a CVT (continuously variable transmission) engine. With outstanding designing, fuel-efficiency above 50, a full-hybrid system-and a price that is way below the Prius-Honda can be the real competitor to Toyota. However, it may not be all that smooth going for Civic Hybrid in India when Honda launches the car in next few months with a rather steep price tag of Rs 20 lakh.

Toyota Prius

Here comes the Numero Uno hybrid car present on earth today. Confidently standing in black at the Bologna show, Prius became an instant hit when it was first launched in 1997 in Japan. More than 160,000 units have been produced for sale in Japan, Europe and North America till now. Prius is a gasoline electric vehicle with a 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine and a power output of 77 bhp @ 4,500 rpm and a torque level of 82 Nm @ 4,200 rpm.

This Toyota product has a top speed of 170 kmph and can accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph in 10.9 secs. Toyota showcased the Prius at the International Engineering Trade Fair in Delhi early this year and there are speculations that the Prius will hit the Indian roads sometime in the near future. The only hitch is that since the car would most likely come in as a CBU, the price will shoot up by a long way. It costs Rs 10 lakh in US and by the time it reaches Indian shores, the price will be anything between Rs 20-25 lakh.

Saab Bio Power

Saab is giving green motoring a performance boost at the Italian show when it showcased its latest Saab BioPower development. The company says its green vehicles use first production-based engine to be optimized for pure bioethanol (E100) fuel. Saab claims that, when run on E85, the car reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 70 per cent compared with the standard petrol car. The CO2 emitted during combustion is effectively offset by the amount of CO2 absorbed during the growing process of the crops used to produce bioethanol.

Tata Ace Electric

Indian carmaker Tata presented an electric pick up at the Italian show. For now, the vehicle is made just for the European market.

Smart Micro Hybrid drive

Daimler takes the liberty to call it the CO2 champion at the Bologna show. Company's smart brand which is set for launch in the US next year has developed a gasoline/electric hybrid model to boost fuel efficiency. But there are no plans to bring it to America at the moment. The two-seater eco-model is badged the MHD, for Micro Hybrid Drive in Europe. It features stop-start technology thanks to belt-driven starter generator that cuts the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt - at traffic lights, for example. MHD will be available as a coupe or cabriolet but only with a 71-hp engine. Fuel economy rises from 60.1 to 65.7 mpg in the EU cycle, and there's a reduction in CO2 emissions from 112 to 103 g/km. That undercuts hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid at 104 and 109 g/km respectively, and will make it Europe's least-polluting gasoline model.

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