European Autos To Emit Less Than Electric Trains by 2020

In London today it was said that in a little more than seven years hence, new cars sold will emit less CO2 than the cleanest high-speed electric trains.

This information was relayed by the head of the industry-government Automotive Council and chairman-designate of Network Rail, Richard Parry-Jones, at an intelligent transport conference.

Assuming average motor vehicle occupancy of 1.6 per car, and average CO2 emissions of 40g/km per vehicle by 2020 – which the auto industry is on target to deliver, he said – passenger vehicles will emit fewer greenhouse gasses per person carried than trains.

“That’s a remarkable development when you think that the typical average was 140g/km in 2000,” he said.

A former engineer for Ford, Parry-Jones also said he believes intelligent cars will communicate between themselves and with networked traffic management systems along roadways.

“Networked vehicles under digital control are going to become the future of car manufacturing,” he said.

This is not the first time we have seen brave new world forecasts with a sunny outlook, and it won’t be the last.

The technology and will are at least present or are nearly in place for many more futuristic scenarios, as we’ve also seen GM and others working on with periodic brief progress reports along the way.

No doubt funding and politics present sizable hurdles preventing many more changes from happening quicker – and other random variables besides also stand to make the best of intended plans go awry. But to those who favor greenhouse gas reduction, it appears a green light is still more or less on for that one aspect of human civilization cleaning up its act.


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  • AP

    Hold on just a minute. I thought electric vehicles were zero emissions!

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  • MS

    If I remember the target for 2020 is not 40g of co2 per km, but a reduction of about 40 from the target for 2015.

    Target for 2015 130g/km
    Target for 2020 95g/km

    As of 2010 two main makers comply with it, Toyota and Fiat.

  • DC

    Just goes to show, the auto-oil cartel just cant stop attacking trains, even near a century later. Notice the subtle evasion going on here. Equating emissions with….what im not sure? Trains are still vastly more efficent, and far more durable(a train can stay in service far longer than any car. Cars impose huge social costs no matter how ‘clean’ corporate propaganda purports them to be.

  • Auld Sodger

    These forecasts appear to be based on the assmuption that trains will make no advances over the next 8 years. They also assume an occupancy rate of 1.6 ppv, which is probably a little too optimistic. Interesting, however, that automakers recognize trains as the standard for emissions.

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