Monday, September 25, 2006


The new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world’s first hydrogen-powered luxury performance car. Destined to make its first public appearance at the Los Angeles Motor Show in November, the Hydrogen 7 is a production-ready car to be built in limited numbers – just 100 initially - and offered to select users in 2007.

Carbon dioxide emissions from cars account for less than 13 per cent of man-made CO2 in Britain, compared to 36.9 per cent for the energy industry and 15.7 per cent from residential sites, according to DEFRA.

The UK motor industry's seventh annual sustainability report (see, published on 18th September, claims that, in the period 2001-2005, UK vehicle makers have cut energy use, waste and CO2 emissions by half in four years.

End of the SUV?: Ford has finally predicted the fall of the SUV, a vehicle that has supported the company’s finances for decades. SUV sales have been falling month by month with a speed that Ford’s chief sales analyst describes as “pretty eye-popping”. As consumers abandon SUVs and light trucks in favour of smaller cars, the big three US automakers, General Motors, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler, are having to take a hard look at their own product lines. Ford announced in early June that it would produce 58,000 fewer trucks in the next quarter than it had in the same period last year – but 40,000 more cars. Meanwhile Chrysler’s senior vice-president of sales, Gary Dilts, has told the Washington Post that his company plans to ‘dial up’ the fuel-efficiency message, with TV ads highlighting how many miles per gallon you can get in its more compact cars.
As Detroit hits problems, the main beneficiaries of the new trend are the Japanese. Toyota and Honda are seeing their pioneering investments in fuel-efficient compact cars and petrol-electric hybrids start to pay big dividends. Toyota is on the verge of overtaking GM as the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer.

This information and much more can be found on an excellent new website:

For a special report in What Car? the magazine hired Britain's foremost fuel economy expert, Peter de Nayer, to carry out independent tests on 85 best-selling cars. He found that the average discrepancy between economy claims and real-world driving was 8%.The worst offender was the Toyota Prius. On paper, it is supposed to average 65.7mpg, but when tested, it averaged 52.0mpg - 13.7mpg less.

According to: 'This new breed of car is electrifying' The Guardian/September 23, 2006:
'Fully electric models are starting to have an impact - from city runarounds like the G-Wiz (www. and new Sakura Maranello4 ( to the dashing Tesla Roadster (www., with its eyebrow-raising 130mph top speed and 0-60 in four seconds. Aside from the need to recharge, which can take some time, critics say electric cars are difficult because they just shift the source of pollution back to the electricity generating plant. But Tesla plans to deal with this by selling solar panels for your house with its cars, so you can offset your consumption that way. An ideal solution would be if the electric car itself could be recharged via a solar-powered fuelling station. A study by the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment has determined that a car powered this way would be far and away the cleanest of all current possibilities.

Car Plus is a charity promoting car clubs and car sharing in the UK

Britain's road-building bill has spiralled out of control and could be £1bn more than predicted because the Highways Agency has lost its grip on the rising costs, according to a report from the Commons Transport Committee. It says: 'The Highways Agency has lost budgetary control of the Targeted Programme of Improvements (TPI). If overruns continue at the current rate, the cost of yet-to-be-completed TPI road projects would be 50 per cent higher than originally estimated. Such an increase would be an irresponsible and unacceptable waste of public money. This is a very serious matter, and Mr Robertson, as Agency Chief Executive, must take personal responsibility for ensuring that an increase of this magnitude does not occur. We wish to know how that will be achieved.' According to Road Block: 'In the recently published Highways Agency Business Plan it was revealed that their road building budget had been increased from £589 million in 2005-6 to £1046 million in 2006-7 - almost doubling. They have stolen the money from the Managing Traffic and Improving Technology budgets.'

The Commission for Global Road Safety claims that more than 3,000 people die daily in road crashes worldwide. There are 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries on the roads every year. Experts forecast a 65% surge in fatalities by 2020. Road accidents claim more lives in the world's poorest countries than malaria and tuberculosis. Africa has the highest road mortality rate of any continent, with 28 deaths for every 100,000 people. (Britain's rate is 5 per 100,000). The Commission believe road deaths should be treated as a global disease and are calling on the G8 to support a $300m plan to tackle the problem.

And finally: Check out the story of the ENV - the world's first purpose-built fuel cell motorcycle.

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