Green cars in Europe


#1

The following was reported in the Irish Independent:



… The Honda Civic hybrid, regarded widely as one of the lowest emitting cars, performed the worst in the tests.



Instead of the 109g/km of CO2 claimed in the makers’ specifications, it was found to put out 171g/km. The testers said its electric motor was “not strong enough to propel the oddball four-door Civic on its own” and they concluded that the vehicle “failed to match the firm’s economy claims”.



The second car labelled a gimmick was the Lexus GS450h. It managed fuel consumption of 26.7 miles per gallon (mpg) in the road test compared with the claimed 35.8mpg – meaning higher carbon emissions. Diesel rivals were said to “produce similar emissions and better economy”…



Somehow I am not surprised. Are you?


#2

Instead of the 109g/km of CO2 claimed in the makers’ specifications, it was found to put out 171g/km. The testers said its electric motor was “not strong enough to propel the oddball four-door Civic on its own” and they concluded that the vehicle “failed to match the firm’s economy claims”.

I’ve driven my friends Civic Hybrid and it has no problem propelling the vehicle on electric motor only. The engine didn’t kick on for about 1/4 mile.


#3

I presume their tests consisted of primarily highway mileage. The European auto press tend to be very highway-centric due to the fact that driving in European cities is typically no fun! Although, I wonder, what exactly is the diesel rival to the GS450h? Can you get a diesel powered luxury saloon for a price comparable to the Lexus? I know Mercedes makes some extremely good cars along those lines, but I’m under the impression that they are very high-end vehicles.


#4

Americans will eventually catch on. Last week a friend rented a Prius for the week while we were both working in NC. He was curious and summed it up at the end of the week by saying, “at least it saved my a trip to the dealer.”

Even if it didn’t have the hybrid gimmick, it is not a car I would ever consider owning. The fit and finish of the interior is amazingly cheap (cardboard and thin plastic), the instrument/controls layout is just weird, the multifunction display is not very user friendly (with a very silly carton of the hybrid system), the brakes feel strange due the the regenerative system, and the handling/ride is about what you would expect from a FWD econo-box. Overall, it might be an acceptable entry level car at half the price (if they got rid of the hybrid nonsense), now it’s just an overpriced fashion statement. If you are worried about fuel cost or emissions, just buy a conventional (gas or diesel) economy car.


#5

You could buy a diesel e-class for $50-60K last time I looked.


#6

Personally I think the Hybrid is a GREAT idea…for CERTAIN COMMUTERS. My neighbor is one of them…35k+ miles per year…Most is non-highway driving…He gets 45+ mpg…where the standard Civic for city driving get’s high 20’s. For him is PERFECT. I’m not sure of the exact number…but I’ll bet that less then 5% of the population can benefit from a Hybrid.

Now a Turbo Diesel that can save me 30-40% on my fuel bill…I’ll take it.


#7

The 5% number is probably close, unfortunately they are being marketed to everyone. IMO, the Prius has a “not ready yet” feel to it, sorta like a concept car with a bunch of weird stuff that doesn’t usually make it into production cars. It seems like they when out of there way to make it’s “look and feel” different than a normal car. I guess some folks will like that, i just find it annoying. If/when this technology becomes mature, it should be transparent to the driver.


#8

The 5% number is probably close, unfortunately they are being marketed to everyone.

Sorry…but the vehicles already exist. Toyota and Nissan both make Diesel SUV’s that are sold in Europe and South America that on highway see a 50% increase in gas mileage over their gasoline counterparts. The turbo diesel has the same hp…and MORE torque then the gasoline equivalents.


#9

Mike, I was referring to hybrids. I like diesels, I have a couple. They are inherently more efficient without the complexity of a hybrid. Diesels will be around when hybrids are long forgotten.


#10

OK Sorry Craig…

I’ve never owned a Diesel…but I’ll bet I will in the not too distance future. I still don’t know why Diesels are NOT being offered here in the US.

There is one other thing about Hybrids…The technology is still fairly new. If the cost could come down and improvements to the technology can be made…then it’s very very viable or a lot more of us. But right now only a small percentage can actually benefit from it. I’m all for new technologies…in the right direction.


#11

Hybrids may eventually become more mainstream, but anything that adds complexity concerns me. Personally, I prefer the simplest design that will do the job well. I suspect the long term use of hybrids will be specialized vehicles that do lots of “stop and go” (taxis, delivery trucks, etc.) where the fuel savings will actually justify the cost.

I suspect we will see plenty of diesel choices in the U.S. within the next 5 years.


#12

I’m told that 35% of taxis in Vancouver, Canada are now hybrids. A near perfect application for a midsize hybrid! The city is very congested, has a mild climate and strict air quality regs.

Seattle, Portland and San Francisco should do the same. Toyota said recently they will have a diesel hybrid soon, as well.

Personally, I would take an efficient diesel in a Corolla or Civic as a preferred choice for mixed driving. Known technology and fuelling infrastructure.


#13

I have no idea if the cars sold in Ireland are outfitted the same way as ours, so I have nothing to base any conclusions on.

I do know that diesels by their very design cannot be made to comply with the current U.S. emissions standards for gasoline engines, even the Mercedes Bluetec.

Most hybrids on the road today are “gimmicks” in that gas engined cars can be bought for less money that get better mileage. There are some exceptions like the Prius, but very few.

The Smart car…now THERE is a gimmick!

But, in truth, I support freedom of choice. My sliding moonroof in my tC is a gimmick, but I love it.

Life is short. Enjoy the ride.


#14

The GS450 is more like an S class sedan.


#15

Are you ready to pay $0.75 more per gallon for diesel? You still save money now, but I think that the difference will grow as more diesel cars become available. I’d be wary of buying a diesel since upward pressure on prices is a larger risk than gasoline. And for every diesel sold, there is one less gasoline powered car on the road, leading to less potential to raise prices.


#16

It appears that we are more strict on the quality of exhaust emissions (how clean it is), while Europe is more strict with the quantity.


#17

The relative prices of gasoline and diesel have been in flux for years, recently the price of diesel has increased but gasoline will catch up. Diesel normal ends up costing something between the cost of regular and premium gasoline, I expect that’s where it will end up when the price of gasoline finally goes up.


#18

Sunroof, it’s a sunroof.

Moonroof is Ford only.


#19

I do know that diesels by their very design cannot be made to comply with the current U.S. emissions standards for gasoline engines, even the Mercedes Bluetec.

I believe that is true, but then I also understand that gasoline cars can’t meet the new diesel standards.

The problem is the two different kinds of engines have different kinds of emissions. The newest diesel engines are considered at least equal overall with the current gasoline engines in terms of emissions. That said I am sure there will be different opinions for years to come on that one. I think we can agree that with the new cleaner diesel fuel we will see cleaner diesel engines.


#20

The new Mercedes Bluetech defintely meets US emission requirements. Consumer Reports had a test on the E Class diesel compared to the Lexus hybrid. It was especially adapted, together with their other diesels, to meet the more stringent US diesel needs.

Asian manufacturers are in process of adapting their diesels to US standards too.