London Motor Show Goes Green, Green, Green

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Most manufacturers are touting green “sub-brands,” from Ford’s ECOnetic line to the ECOmotive models from Spain’s Seat. And this seems to matter to buyers, at least according to the Clean Green Cars website. UK sales by manufacturers with the highest average CO2 emissions fell faster from January to June than did those for lower-emitting makes. It’s also worth nothing that cars with CO2 levels below 100 g/km are exempt from various annual taxes and from the pricey congestion charge to enter Central London on weekdays.

Small Car Launches

Easily the show’s most important global launch was General Motors’ Insignia—to be sold as a Vauxhall in the UK, an Opel elsewhere in Europe, and possibly the next Saturn Aura in the States. The midsize sedan and hatchback offer a drag coefficient of just 0.26, adaptive all-wheel-drive, adaptive headlights, and a camera system that reads lane markings and road signs too.
Just as important in this market was the UK launch of Ford’s new Fiesta, a super-mini that’s been a bestseller in the British Isles for more than 30 years. Ford heavily touted its Fiesta ECOnetic model, calling it the “greenest family car” on the market, with CO2 emissions of just 98 grams per kilometer.

Norway’s 17-year-old Th!nk launched its revised City model, to go on sale in 2009. Unlike the bulk of electric cars now sold in the UK, the City is both crash-tested and highway-certified—a “real car,” in other words. It has a top speed of 65 mph and can travel for 126 miles in urban use when fully charged. The present battery uses Zebra sodium-nickel-hydride cells, but Th!nk has new partnerships with US-based lithium-ion cell makers EnerDel and A123 Systems.

Alternative Concepts

Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are few and far between. Honda is exhibiting its FCX Clarity sedan—now being leased to a few selected drivers in Southern California—deeming it the first fuel cell car built on a standard production line. At a much smaller scale of green, GM offered journalists the use of a dozen laptops powered by small fuel cells (only six remained by the end of the day). But the most startling fuel cell concept came from an unlikely carmaker: the diehard eccentric traditionalist Morgan Motor Company. Its LIFEcar uses a 22-kW QinetiQ hydrogen fuel cell, sized to power the very lightweight car at cruising speeds, plus up to 10 seconds of maximum acceleration from a bank of ultracapacitors rather than a battery.


  • Bryce

    Some interesting concepts. The Insignia is gorgeous and that Morgan Roadster looks fine as well. I wonder when the Fiesta is coming stateside???

  • Shines

    – potential buyers may want to keep their chequebooks closed until more is known –
    Yep it seems most buyers are on hold with high gas prices, and the anticipation of upcoming models like Volt, the new Honda Insight (looks exactly like a Prius) the 2009 Prius, whatever other new Hybrids Chevy/Chrysler/Ford/Honda/Hyundai/Kia/Nissan/Toyota etc will have. Clean diesels – where are they? I can’t see putting money down for a new vehicle that does not have new technology – except maybe for one of the relatively efficient compact or sub-compacts.

  • Harry Boswell

    Every potential car buyer should choose only electric or hybrid power despite the wait.

    Present ‘standard’ cars are already obsolete and should be refused.

    Very happy Prius owner.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, what country isn’t ‘far ahead” of north americans when it comes to eco-awareness?

  • Bryce

    China

  • Diddy

    WAIT FOR PLUG INS!!!! Then I will settle for not needing the newest of the new.This Bio Diesel & etc. blah blah is just about making a new market for the existing big oil companies and other market cornering types to get a hold on. Well the corn/soy eating public ain’t buying it and niether are the EURO’s. Once you can plug it in and drive powered off a/the grid, the true jump has been made.

    -used fully paid Corolla owner

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    i wish i could visit British International Motor Show

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  • Noz

    It’s just amazing just how far ahead the rest of the world really is relative to the US. We are so behind in so many ways it’s really sad.

    That’s what happens when you live a society where war and weapons are the major source of pride.

  • Bryce

    Other countries sure are happy to buy those weapons too. lol. India just signed something to get nuclear fuel for reactors and bombs. We just sold billions to a handful of middle eastern nations. Britain will be purchasing a bunch of F-35s when thos are released shortly along with Australia, the Netherlands, Turkey, and a bunch of others. (watered down versions of course, except for the British version) It sure seems that the rest the world is itching to get its hands on those toys.

    By the way, the US is the largest exporter of semi-conductors, computer chips, and industrial goods, ranging from farm and construcion tractors to industrial chemicals. Not to mention the biggest automakers in the markets of China, Brazil, and handful of other booming regions are GM and Ford. (VW is doing really well in China as well, right behind GM)

  • dangerous

    This one should be shared to other countries and continents. But the car models should be a quality too. This new manufactured cars are great for matching the hybrids one. Save gas and save the environment. Auto Fanatics should have these kind of cars, review them and share what they have to say and experience about those kind of cars.

  • PRiNCESSz DREEKA

    DAMN dAT CAR iSz SO0 hAWt.. i SO0 LO0VE iT!..

  • PRiNCESSz DREEKA

    [dAMN dAT SOUNd;Sz KO0L) WUt iSz AUtO fANAtiCS AbOUt?..

  • josh schild

    yo this car is so pimpin and eco friendly

  • EcoFriendlyTom

    Green cars are really coming in to the public eye right now – this is the perfect time for something like this. sounds great. South West London Locksmiths

  • altonalvin

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