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Green is good!

Frugal: Alfa Romeo's 147 JTD was the second most economical in the Greenfleet trial.

Diesels and hybrids shine in Greenfleet's first eco-friendly technology trial

Alfa Romeo logo7 Apr 2006

By NEIL MCDONALD

IN AN effort to highlight the importance of "green" vehicles available in Australia, Greenfleet has held its inaugural environmentally friendly technology trial last week.

Held to coincide with the Australian F1 Grand Prix, the trial comprised a fleet of vehicles with green credentials including petrol-electric hybrid cars, a Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell bus and several vehicles with new-generation turbo-diesel engines. Among the latter were a turbo-diesel Holden Astra and Honda Accord.

Greenfleet chief executive officer Henry O’Clery said he expected more brands to join the trial as newer-technology hybrid and turbo-diesel arrived.

Thirteen vehicles took part this year, in an event that will now be held every two years.

"We hope to raise awareness about cars available for motorists who want to reduce their impact on the environment," he said. "With these new technologies, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle does not have to compromise our lifestyle choices."Greenfleet Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that offers a tax-deductible $40 donation for planting and maintaining 17 native trees on behalf of a car owner. It claims that 17 is the number required to absorb the greenhouse gas emissions that the average car produces in a year (based on 4.3 tonnes of CO2).

Former race-driver and Greenfleet patron Peter Brock was at the trial, driving the 1.9-litre turbo-diesel Astra due to go on sale in June. Mr Brock’s vehicle delivered fuel economy of just 4.35L/100km over the event route, which took in about 200km of peak-hour city and country driving around Melbourne.

The Astra’s fuel economy was close to the new Alfa Romeo 147 JTD, which delivered 4.39L/100km and was driven mostly under 1500rpm.

Honda’s Accord 2.2-litre i-CTDI, which is under evaluation for Australia, managed 6.54L/100km, while the new Peugeot 407 2.7-litre HDi V6 delivered 8.02L/100km.

Citroen’s new C4 HDi managed an impressive 4.65L/100km while a Volkswagen Polo TDi came out at 6.56L/100km and the BMW 530d 9.59L/100km.

Apart from the Citroen, Alfa and Astra, most of the vehicles were driven without fuel economy in mind, with driver’s adopting a more real-world approach to driving.

Of the DaimlerChrysler passenger vehicles, the Mercedes-Benz C220 CDi managed 6.73L/100km, the E280CDi 8.35L/100km and the Viano people-mover 8.92L/100km.

The event also included a petrol-engined 660cc Smart ForTwo (4.78L/100km) and 3.0-litre Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel (10.51L/100km).

Two cars welded together? The Brits just can’t latch on to the hybrid idea: Honda

HONDA claims that British drivers are ignorant when it comes to understanding "green" motoring, quoting research it commissioned which shows that more than half (52%) of British motorists were unaware of hybrid cars and that more than 40 per cent failed to understand that it was a car that uses a combination of petrol and electric power.

 center imageIncorrect responses included "two cars welded together" and "a car made by more than one manufacturer".

Trotted out at last week’s launch of the Civic Hybrid in the UK, the research questioned 1200 British drivers on their understanding of alternative fuel vehicles.

Just 18 per cent of respondents mentioned a petrol-electric hybrid car when asked to name a type of alternative fuel vehicle (they were more likely to quote LPG or fully electric cars) and only 35 per cent correctly associated hybrid vehicles with lower fuel costs.

A whopping 73 per cent of drivers said they were unlikely to buy a hybrid, with the main reason (34%) being it was too expensive.

Of the 18 per cent who would consider a hybrid car, the top motivating fact was lower fuel costs (54%) rather than environmental benefits (39%).

Just 17 per cent of drivers saw it as their responsibility to lessen the impact of their vehicles, with a total of 70 per cent suggesting either governments (35%) or car manufacturers (35%) be responsible for encouraging better take-up of greener vehicles.

Britain’s RAC Foundation has weighted into the debate, calling for an education program to encourage eco-driving.

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